Friday, January 14, 2011

Which path shall we take?

Which path shall we take? There's nothing wrong with passionate feelings about politics. In fact, one of the biggest problems in America's democracy is widespread apathy. It's a good thing to take an interest, to speak up, even to protest.

But it's a very bad thing to threaten violence, even subtly, if you don't get your way. It's a bad thing to demonize your opponents. Yeah, they may be wrong, they may be foolish, they may even be dumb,... but they are your fellow Americans, not terrorist plants. They're trying to do what's right for our country, as they see it.

That's why this hasn't been a matter of "both sides" being angry. Passionate political debate is a good thing. Even when I disagree with the right - and I do - I admire their passion. There's plenty of passion on the left, too. But the left hasn't been threatening violence, or attacking their opponents as not being real Americans, or accusing them of being part of a conspiracy dedicated to the overthrow of our nation.

You can be as passionate as you like in opposition to Barack Obama, but when you call him a Kenyan, a Muslim, a socialist, a Nazi, or a terrorist, that's going too far. He's an American just like you, trying to do what's best. Yeah, he has a darker skin than you. So what? Get over it! You can disagree with him all you like. That's not the problem.

You can be as passionate as you like in your speech, but when you call for "2nd Amendment remedies," that's going too far. When you vow that you're going to get your way "by ballot or by bullet," that's going too far. When you take assault rifles to political rallies, that's going too far. This isn't difficult to understand. It's pretty clear where political speech ends and calls to violence begin. (If you're not sure, then you're going too far.)

We are one nation, undivided, with a variety of political and religious views. You won't always get your way. Tough! The whole point of politics is that it replaces civil war as a means of settling our disputes. I sure as hell know which one I want in America, even if I don't get my way (and I so very rarely do).

Which path shall we take, the high road or the low road? It's up to us. Remember, the high road is not apathy. The high road is not lying down and being a doormat to your political opponents. The high road is not a lack of passion, not at all. Fierce political debate is the high road.

The low road is much different. When you come to that fork in the road, it should be easy for any rational American to recognize.

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