“Some of those that were forces/are the same that bore crosses/Killing in the name of/And now you do what they told ya/And now you do what they told ya/now you’re under control” — "Killing in the name of” Rage Against the Machine
You know I got to tell you, I’m a little concerned. I take a look around this great country of ours and I don’t see a nation united. Our so-called melting pot seems like its just one click on the oven away from boiling over and the whole thing erupting. And while I think there are many things out there that could cause the temperature to rise ever so slightly, I’m very afraid that someone out there is going to decide to vote with a bullet and go after the president.
I feel like I should probably state a few things up front: I’m a progressive, I voted for Barack Obama and I really disliked George W. Bush. And while I know that nobody on the left was a fan of our 43rd president, I also don’t remember the level of vitriol aimed at him that made me feel like someone was going to try and place cross-hairs on his forehead. I feel that way now.
What is it? What is it about this man, Barack Obama, which seems to bring out the absolute worst in some of us? It’d be too easy to say the answer is his skin tone. No, I don’t think that’s it solely. I’m sure for many that’s a piece of it, but not all of it. Is it his policies? Have you looked closely? In policy and actions thus far, the man more closely resembles Bush than FDR. Is it the fear that somehow this president is going to turn us into a socialist country? Well, the only answer I have for that is that’s arguably one of the dumbest notions I’ve heard in a while. Let me explain.
Those on the right often hearken back to the 1950s as some halcyon period in American history — little jimmy knew how to read and father knew best. Post WWII America was expanding at an unbelievable rate and there was enough for everyone. Right? Wrong!
Lets see: blacks were still sitting at the back of the bus; women were still regulated to the kitchen; and, this one is my favorites, the top marginal tax rate under President Eisenhower was 91-92 percent. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say no one would have called Eisenhower a socialist.
No, I think the answer lies in the level of discourse we’ve allowed ourselves to engage in. Look, I’ve got no love for political correctness; we should all call things as they are, speak truth to power, and give liars and hypocrites short shrift. But where’s that balance between speech that’s acceptable and furthers the discourse and speech that’s just hate?
I remember growing up my mom used to say that “hate” was a word I wasn’t allowed to say, it was too powerful and as a child I couldn’t grasp the level of emotion the word implied. Well, I’m not a child anymore and I get it, I feel it, and it's here in our nation ready to tear us asunder.
I don’t agree with just about anything our esteemed Senator John Barrasso (R-Wy) has done while in office. But I do know one thing, at the end of the day, Senator Barrasso, like so many in Washington, is doing what he thinks is best for our state and our nation. I would love the opportunity to debate Sen. Barrasso, he’s a very smart man and I would love to engage him in conversation about matters of policy — no politics, no b.s., just healthy debate like what happens down at the gas station every morning with the old men gathered around coffee.
So, I guess ultimately where I’m going is this – you don’t agree with the president, hey that’s fine. It took many men with many great and competing ideas to make our nation what it is today. But perhaps all of us need to check ourselves, to reign in our lizard brains that just attack without hearing. To my friends on the left, no, the right isn’t a bunch of whack jobs bent on world domination. To my friends on the right, no, the left isn’t a bunch of wussies bent on surrendering this country. Maybe all of us need to say to those who would incite violence that no, that isn’t the answer and it isn’t the way.