Bipartisan Rant

I really don’t like what politics and religion bring out in people. We are mean to each other – perhaps, at times, without even realizing it.

Please, have an opinion. Please feel free to express that opinion articulately and with conviction. Please engage in strong debate with someone of an opposing opinion. But please, please, please refrain from trashing a person’s intelligence, or looks, or race, or name, or religion, or family, or personality.

Please stop trying to tear a person down and make them feel low. Please stop demonizing a person as if they are a one dimensional character. Please stop lumping everyone who disagrees with you into the category of “idiot.” Please don’t assume people who prefer the other guy are racist… or terrorists.

Please stop creating an environment where others are afraid to express their views for fear of mocking or judgment. If it’s hard for you to imagine how someone could believe what they believe, then ask them why they believe it. You might be surprised they actually have thoughtful, educated, and informed reasons – even if you still disagree.

I listened to an interview with Josh Brolin on Fresh Air yesterday
. Brolin is playing George W. Bush in a movie bio about his life. When Brolin was first approached with the project, he bristled, not wanting to be associated with a president he disagrees with so strongly. But as he read the script, and researched Bush’s life, and learned about the man behind the rhetoric, Brolin had a change of heart regarding his attitude. Here are a few quotes from the interview:

“There’s some things, to my surprise, that I respected. I’m glad I’m more educated now.”

“[I had a] cosmetic reaction. I’d written [George Bush] off by the time Oliver [Stone] had come to me, and I’ve since then learned and feel that it’s incredibly irresponsible to do that.”

“And then you start to do your research and there’s things I felt were very positive and very interesting about his life and his milestones.”

I really appreciate Brolin’s ability to step back from the tribal mentality and find something he appreciates about the man. I don’t imagine it’s as easy for him to disrespectfully mock the Bush administration, or republicans, or evangelicals, now that he feels a sense of sameness with them on a more human level.

Making the movie didn’t change Brolin’s political views, but it did seem to awaken him to his own arrogance.

For living in a society and a city that boasts of it’s incredible “tolerance,” what I see in practice is “tolerance” toward those whom we like and who agree with us. What I see, is that we’re ignorant, and we’re arrogant.

Reminds me a lot of the story about planks and specks.

4 thoughts on “Bipartisan Rant”

  1. I agree 100%…..I hate this time of year. Every time I turn on the tv the ads are more vicious and more numerous until I can’t stand either candidate anymore! I love that in our country we have the right to openly express our opinion, but to do so disrepectfully kind of spits in the face of that freedom. Great post!

  2. Even though I try not to get into political debates, I’m as guilty of this kind of thing as anyone in my head. I get very passionate about a lot of political issues and sometimes I feel that people who disagree with me haven’t done their homework. Not always true, obviously, because you can come to all sorts of conclusions from the same information.

    But yes, I would like to see a lot more civility in the way people have these discussions. The US elections are making ours look VERY polite.

  3. Yes, what you wrote here is true on so many levels. I may link to this sometime. Religion and politics . . . and the two combined . . . bring out the ugliness in people. HOw to feel passionately but still respect people with opposing opinions . . . we judge one another largely because we don’t know each other, and it is easier to assume evil than good.

  4. I’m so glad you wrote this, Jen. I find this especially, unfortunately true among Christians–we are too quick to make political opinions a chance to question others’ faith or salvation (of all things). I’m constantly thinking, these days, about Jesus and how he refused to be associated with EITHER ruling party in his day–he kept trying to tell people that what he was about was “other” and different from power or politics here on earth. Too often, as people of faith, we try to do the very thing the disciples kept getting caught up in–equating God’s kingdom with an earthly kingdom. Of COURSE we must vote, of COURSE we need to vote with our consciences, of COURSE we need to pray for those in office. But it is very dangerous (in my opinion) to equate any human leader with God. Cause they aren’t and they never will be. And we need to stop questioning others’ faith or faithfulness because that is not our place. Ever.

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