Thursday, December 22, 2005

Politics & Religion? Yikes.

My uncle Bill continues to email me pro-Bush, anti-Democrat crap. Whenever he does that sending overly forwarded emails to me and a hundred other friends and family members I always reply to all. And when I do, I include factual information and supporting links showing how misinformed he is. For example, he emailed a long-winded whine about how Democrats have changed the once honorable notion of Social Security into an all feed from the big trough giveaway program. Of course, a quick check with Snopes found a significantly different truth: http://www.snopes.com/politics/taxes/sschanges.asp. When I confronted him with the factual information, his response was, sorry, I was speaking Clintonese. I asked, what does he have to do with anything? Bottom line, instead of apologizing for passing along lies, he defends himself by saying he did a Clinton for a moment. Geez, who would the right-wing blame without Clinton around?

I mean, he is a good person, a friendly guy with the best of intentions. So how is it that he becomes a foaming-at-the-mouth idiot when it comes to issues of politics and religion? I dont understand why seemingly intelligent, compassionate people become unthinking drones. Anything about Democrats, Liberals or Progressives is evil, un-American and stupid. Anything about Bush, Conservatives, and Republicans is like gospel, spoken by Jesus himself. How did we get to this point, where our country is so bitterly and completely divided?

Tune into traditional media, and these are the things that seem to matter most to todays conservatives:

o Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas
o Gay marriage
o Nudity on television

Compare that to the things I am most concerned about:

o Troops deployed to Iraq without a clear mission statement, proper equipment and honest leadership
o Homeless veterans
o Global warming continues, yet we still debate its existence

I am hardly a bleeding heart, sacrificing all for the good of others. But I do have a heart, and compassion, and want the world to be a better place. I am also intelligent and a realist, understanding that no single political party or religion has all the answers. This life is far too complex, and issues are too complicated, for people to react in sound-bites. My wish for Christmas? That everyone would open their hearts and minds to a world just a bit larger than the one they currently see. Dreaming, I know, but thats what optimists do.