If you’ve read Scribblegal in the past, you’re probably aware of my political viewpoints. I’m a proud liberal and if I thought there were a hell, it would freeze over before that changed. I’m for raising up the bottom, equalizing the playing field. I’m for gay rights, including marriage, and I’m pro-choice, of course.
I think the Federal Government should be spending money on Education, the infra-structure and a safety net for the growing numbers of poor and homeless, including children and seniors. In my opinion, the super-rich should be taxed to pay for these things, like they were in the good old days of American prosperity. I abhor the priorities of the current members of our government who seem more interested in repressing our rights and spying on us than on extending a helping hand.
I believe that people shouldn’t and can’t be judged by their wealth, that rich people, no matter how much some of them would like to believe it, are no better than poor people. In fact, studies suggest that poor people are a lot more likely to be generous with their scant resources than the wealthiest, so I guess I’m saying the poor are often better than the rich. In the same vein, skin color has nothing to do with morality, intelligence or industry.
My father was a union carpenter, and the whole family were Democrats. I never doubted, until recently, that is, that Democrats were the party of the working class. I now believe that almost all of our elected officials are in the thrall of monied interests. (Not you Bernie Sanders, or Elizabeth Warren) I vote for Democrats because they’re at least talking the talk. They’re not bitching, as the Nevada GOP Congressman, Cresent Hardy, did recently, about the drain on society caused by the handicapped.
After having written so many blogs on the subject of inequality, racism and poverty, I recently decided it was a futile endeavor. I was tired of getting stressed out at the level of injustice in the United States. After all, what could I do, besides signing petitions and posting on Facebook?
It was just such a post that created a total shitstorm between me and a few of my Minnesota cousins. The offending post pictured President Obama, and the caption said, Share if you’re OUTRAGED and ASHAMED of the way the Republican Party has treated America’s first African-American president.
I am terribly ashamed, not only at the treatment of the President, but of the continuing disaster visited on people of color. I witnessed this repellant inequality in 1960, when I was twelve, and visited Florida for the first time. I couldn’t believe my eyes when, everywhere south of the Mason-Dixon Line, I saw signs that screamed, WHITES ONLY. My twelve-year-old self knew how horribly wrong and cruel that was, as all kids do, and I began to feel ashamed of myself for being a part of something so hideous.
Not that I’ve never had a racist feeling. I believe we humans have a tendency to close ranks around our tribes, and protect them from those we perceive as threatening. And I know what it means to feel threatened. But we’re thinking creatures, and we ought to be able to see that the fear of both people of color and the poor is both unwarranted and artificially created by those who would rather we didn’t see our common humanity and pull together to fight against the real enemy: the corporate state.
When one of my cousins declared Obama to be the worst president in history, and another claimed he was a bad person, I flipped. There you go, I posted, two of my cousins proving my point. I’m embarrassed and ashamed of you both.
Perhaps you can guess how the story ended, and I have to say I feel terrible that one of my cousins now thinks I’m the worst person in the world, and doesn’t want me for a friend anymore. I’ve loved him since I was a child. And I don’t deny that my knee-jerk reaction to his post was unhelpful.
What I want to know is, how did we get to this point? Why is it that we have to hate those with whom we disagree? Can’t we just agree to disagree?