Frightened

Where is this country going with its dialogue?

Seriously. Civil debate – the cornerstone of this country’s progress – has all but vanished. The only remaining vestiges have become scapegoats for everything wrong with this country: “intellectual elitists,” they say.

It’s come down to this: disagree, and you’re a terrorist. Debate, and you’re an intellectual elitist. Agree, and you’re a patriotic American.

How has it come to this? How can progress be made when we’re actively hoping that our leaders fail and wishing harm upon fellow Americans for exercising their American rights to disagree? How can we address shortcomings when folks are calling for armed response and likening leaders to Hitler? How can democracy survive in this polar climate?

Facebook offers some of the best and worst of this progression. A friend of mine (person A), someone who is an upstanding American citizen but with whom I disagree politically, posted a thread about profiling in America (focusing on specific types of people when it comes to enforcing law). It is my belief that profiling is an inherently flawed tactic, guaranteed only to be wrong far, far more often than right. Another friend (person B) jumped in and essentially went through every point I would have made. But then an unknown individual (person U) started along these lines:

U: common sense, your reasoning will be the downfall of not just this country but the entire Western culture. As England falls to Islam and we trail close behind, I wish upon you ridiculous LIBS the blame after it had all come to pass. But of course, you’ll all say, “It was Bush’s fault.”

The lack of common sense usage is the reason your argument is but piss in a pot..

I can’t even pick a starting point for where these statements are misguided, partisan, irrational, and just plain wrong (slippery slope fallacy, strawman fallacy, ad hominem fallacy…). There is no counter-point, no concrete evidence for the disagreement, only that my friend had disagreed with what apparently amounts to Bible truth.

The discussion continued:

A: Only 911 days to go! BTW, person B really is a good guy. I just cannot figure out why he (who owns a small business) is not more Conservative. He will say he is a Centrist, but nonetheless seems to often take the Lib side.

U: hate it when my phone to FB text are not fully displayed, or sent in some weird order. I give up, and refuse to let intellectual arguments overshadow pure common sense, and I will not waste my time either. understand A, he may be ‘nice’, but his intellect is similar to a smart school boy who can’t screw in a lightbulb. Sorry, gotta say it as I hear it… from his reasoning. These PC wimps are screwing this whole country up…

I had to stop for a moment here. I couldn’t believe it – not only did he still not offer any reasonable counter-point, but he went straight into mudslinging. No explanation for his viewpoint, so I can only assume that he believes anyone who doesn’t grasp the concept to be worthy of his contempt (who’s being elitist here?). He doesn’t even know person B, but seems to think he knows enough to hate the guy.

Surreal.

Amazingly, person B didn’t take the bait (awesome guy); his response is lengthy, but it’s rational. It’s thoughtful. It shows he actually cares about the issues and the people involved, not about separating into camps of us vs them.

Okay. Lets get a couple of things clear here.
1) Muslims do not pass unchecked while little old ladies are searched. Yes, on occaision a little old lady is selected for random search. So are muslims.
2) Not all of Islam is out to do away with America or other Western Society. I know quite a few muslims that are very happy they have the freedom to live in this country and support this country. As noted, it is a radical group that is causing the problems.
3) This country was built to be the melting pot for all the oppressed to come and be a single people. If I have any gripe with the Hispanics, it is that as a whole they have tried remain separate, insisting that we accomodate them with bi-lingual signs, etc., whereas every other immigrant group worked hard to blend in.

@person U, I have tried very hard to stick to argument, but you immediately choose to ridicule the person rather than argue the facts. I think every single arguement I have made is common sense. So far you have compared my arguments to “piss in a pot”, compared me to someone “that can’t screw in a lightbulb” and called me a “PC wimp”. I’m sorry that you don’t like my reasoning, or me, even though we’ve never met, but you have yet to advance even a single counter-arguement that would not be considered bigotry. Since a wiser man than I once said “Never argue with an idiot as people might not notice the difference”, I refuse to even acknowledge any more of your comments. Finally, I’m far more likely to say it was Reagan’s fault. 🙂

Why is this kind of second-thinking so rare? Regardless of your political persuasion, why is it that we prefer to crucify our detractors rather than work alongside them? Liberals and conservatives alike are guilty of this knee-jerk emotional reaction, but I fail to see why anyone believes it does any good whatsoever.

Person U, despite saying he was done, felt the need to respond with one final parting shot:

Muslims do pass while little old ladies get checked. It is this kind of illogical comment that has caused me not to waste my time… I stand by everything I said, and don’t care how it makes you feel. We will have many more issues because of your views and the manipulations of the left. Sorry A, I’ll refrain in the future, its a waste of time anyway… Hope you all are well.

Unbelievable.

I’m trying really, really hard not to let this color my perspective on conservatives across the board, but it’s proving difficult. Time and time again I see self-professed Conservative Christians (person U was one!) – supposed to be followers of Jesus! – advocating for racial profiling and tighter immigration control, cessation of welfare checks to the poor and unemployed, and lower taxes for the richest members of the country.

How, exactly, does this fit into Jesus’ Golden Rule of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”? Where does accumulation of wealth fit into Jesus’ message? Or how about lack of compassion for those less fortunate? Or even casting judgment on others, particularly by such superficial characteristics as race, gender, or even political/religious persuasion?

HINT: NONE OF THEM DO. NOT ONE BIT.

This more than anything is what frightens me when I think about this country’s future. Not the recession, not health care, not even education or the wars across the ocean. What frightens me most is that we’ve become a Disunited States of America, where dissent is no longer embraced or even tolerated, but exists solely as a means of separation into respective camps, camps which are convinced their way is the only way, and which view the opposing side as the source of this country’s woes.

How does democracy survive in a country (supposedly a “Christian” country?) where each side is doing its best to screw the other?

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About Shannon Quinn

Oh hai!
This entry was posted in Blogging, Politics, Real Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Frightened

  1. kat says:

    That’s a little scary, but remember… If you let it color your views of all conservatives, it will be one of the problems that person U clearly has – a desire to make blanket statements about groups. That tends to be step one in making stupid, unreasonable comments like the ones U did.

    So keep your head up, and be like person B. Stay strong and keep believing that people can still be good, no matter their political leanings. I’d like to think that as long as people like us, people like B, etc. can keep trying to have reasonable arguments, we’ll be okay. 🙂

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