Democracy, Theocracy, and Hypocrisy
Well, it’s that magical time I love so much that shows its ugly head every four years. The season of politics is all around us, and it seems every one gets more ridiculous than the next. Every four years, I get reminded how little faith I have in humanity these days, and how much we are moving backward as a society. You see, it isn’t the politics itself that disgust me the most, though elements of it undoubtedly do. No, what gets to me the most is that we as a people are becoming less and less tolerant of the difference in one another.
The people that attack freedom. The enemy of democracy. Growing up, these were terms used for horribly abusive regimes in other countries around the world where leaders were committing acts of vile cruelty and inhumane attacks on basic human rights. Now, I hear these types of labels tossed around at every turn, only they are now aimed at our own people. Government officials. Public figures. Religious leaders. When did having a differing opinion lead to such disdain?
Regardless of where somebody’s political or religious affiliations lie, I don’t recall a time where such blatant disrespect for people existed. In the past, there have been people that disagreed with policies of elected officials. Did anybody ever take to the streets carrying signs of the President’s severed head? Did we every have to worry about people burning cats in effigy to protest an elected official? It’s one thing to disagree…it’s another to disrespect the very core of a human being’s essence.
Somehow, we have lost the ability to have differing opinions in the country. It used to be that I could have a different stance or position than another and carry on a healthy debate. Now, we are just enemies. The very fabric of our national creed for centuries has been the right to think, worship, and exist in any way we choose. Where have we strayed so far? We’ve become so polarized, from the far right religious right to the bleeding hear liberal…we’ve lost any tolerance for the spaces between these ends.
And now to the part that bothers me the most with all of this. Whether it be political or religious stances. There is a core principle we lack severly…and I shall sum that up in one solitary statement:
A person’s belief system will not be taken seriously when peppered with hypocrisy.
Every day it seems I run into someone who wants to spill what they believe all over. And how do they do that…by attacking the position contrary to what they believe. Nobody seems to take a position on what they believe, but rather they choose to attack what they don’t believe. And in doing so, they choose to ignore the validity of what they believe.
Statement: You cannot choose to defend the core values of separation of church and state yet insist that we need to get God back into our public schools.
Statement: You cannot say that an elected office is trying to destroy Jesus in our society on the basis that you believe he is a Muslim and also believe in a political candidate who believes that God is a being who resides on the planet Kolob and belongs to a religious sect who’s leaders have made countless statements regarding the “ridiculousness” of Christianity.
Statement: Liberals cannot defend the first amendment but then demand someone be removed from a job for exercising that right.
If you believe in something, then understand why you believe in it. Not why you choose to not believe in something else. Know facts…don’t create them. Study and stay educated. And most importantly, keep an open mind. You aren’t always going to agree with everything that everyone else believes. This does not by nature make them your enemy…it just makes us different. We have lost the ability to coexist and let others believe something that is not identical to us. This is what democracy is for. We believe what we choose. When it is going to impact others, we have the rights to vote to determine how society should handle these differences. Instead, we now devote all of our time trying to disprove what someone else thinks or destroying who someone else is. Here’s a thought…more people will believe in you and respect you when they know who YOU are, not who someone else isn’t.
I have friends that are devout Christians. I have friends who are Muslims. I have friends who believe in Buddhism. I have friends who are Catholic, Lutheran, or Methodist. I have friends that are Democrats. I have friends who are Republicans. I have friends who refuse to affiliate themselves with a political party. I have friends of all creeds, beliefs, and positions that believe in a multitude of things that I may or may not. Looking them all over and summing them all up, I have friends. At the end of the day, that should be the only thing that matters.
Believe with conviction but tolerate with compassion.