I was on Facebook today and posted a link to a map that someone has created which notes that illegal immigrant children are being placed in mainly Republican states, presumably to sway the vote in those states when they come of age, or when their parents inevitably follow them across. I got a few comments from some liberal friends I have, to the effect of, "thanks, now we know where to send food and teddy bears to the poor children!" Perhaps they were implying that I, being a stalwart conservative, have no concern for the plight of thousands of displaced, impoverished, diseased children flooding across our border.
Who do you think I am, Adolf Hitler? If you thought that about me, how were you ever ignorant of my lunacy, enough so to be my good friend? (The people who commented were one of my best friends in college and one of my ex-boyfriends whom I still consider a friend. Really, people?)
This lead me to ponder partisanship on a neighborhood level. Not up in D.C. where partisan politics is an all-out war right now, but on the level that most people experience, between family members, between co-workers, between Facebook friends. How do the actions of the few, the leaders that we supposedly elect, effect the lives of many? (I use the word "supposedly" here not to indicate some crazy conspiracy theory, just the fact that the only people I have to choose from are chosen for me, either because they are a career politician or because somebody with big money and an even bigger agenda backed their campaign, or in most cases both.)
I started this line of thinking by first assuming a few premises. First, that I am a person of above-average intelligence. My backing for this assumption is my IQ (144), my level of education (I have a B.S. in Building Construction with a minor in Business), and my level of awareness of world news, because you can be a huge smarty-pants, but if you're unaware of the world around you, you may as well be asleep.
***Since posting this article, a friend of mine, whom I consider smarter than I, has noted that an IQ test on a person when they are a child, which is what I'm basing the above on, is inaccurate. I will therefore replace that statement with the following completely un-scientific description of my intelligence: "I am so f^&*ing smart that I make smart people feel like they are retarded." Bonus points for telling me what movie that's from.***
My second assumption is that I am a good person, or at least, that I am not a monster. I'm no Mother Theresa, but I also do not go around pushing the elderly into traffic or stealing ice cream cones from small children. I am a Catholic, I believe in God and charity, and I believe I should treat other people as I wish to be treated.
My third assumption is that I am a contributing member of society. I am a hard-working mother of two and I am not currently pulling any sort of cash out of the collective pool (Welfare, Medicaid, Social Security, what have you.) Don't put words in my mouth Liberal friends, I'm not saying it's bad to be on these social programs, but I currently am not because I have no need or want for them.
So, based on these assumptions, you would expect that on a moral level, that I might be of like mind to most of the people in my society. But based on the partisan view, you would be incorrect! You see, we seem to have lost sight of that base American value, that we all do not have to share every belief to coexist and prosper together.
I may be Pro-life, but I'm not some monster who believes that the government has a right to dictate to women what they can or cannot do with their bodies.
I may be Catholic, but I don't think that certain religions can or cannot dictate who can and can't get married in this country.
I may be white, but I don't hate or dislike people based on the color of their skin or the language that they speak.
You see, we've let the media convince us that we are so very different, conservatives and liberals, Republicans and Democrats, so fundamentally different that there is no middle ground, that the other person is always wrong. That if you don't support Obama, you're a racist. That if you are Pro-life, then you are anti-feminist. That if you don't believe in gay marriage, that you are homophobic. Well, I'm here to tell you something.
NONE OF THAT IS TRUE.
And I'm truly sick of it.
Of being told that I have outdated, archaic beliefs; that I am racist, prejudiced; that I am the minority and should shut up and let the "progressives" move the country forward. Of feeling like I shouldn't speak up for my beliefs, because I'm just flat-out stupid, and evil to boot. Well, I'm NOT.
But I digress.
Name-calling does nothing but further the gap between parties and create the stagnation that is caused by everyone thinking that it's their way or the highway. Because if you're a true grown-up, you know that as an adult, you have to compromise a LOT. That it's not about being right or proving someone else wrong. It's about making a better life for our children.
Let us all remember, it is our DIFFERENCES that make us who we are as a country. That make us human. Whether we are Catholic, Baptist, Jewish, or even Atheist, we all hold a similar moral code that we base our government upon. And that government cannot work for us if all it is doing is fighting amongst itself. Every issue does not have to be a party issue. So next time you read an article, or a friend's post, regarding a political issue, step back and think about what that person's perspective is. Because we can't get anywhere until we try to step outside our own box and look at it from someone else's shoes. The first step to compromising and moving forward is to understand that the wonderful thing about this country, the thing we should try and preserve, is that we all have the freedom and right to be different, think different, look different, and enjoy the friendship of people different from us.