Monday, March 22, 2010

Community

While it’s true that my blog is typically for matters of the heart, those of you who know me also know just how unusual it is that politics has never made an appearance here.

I am passionate about a lot of things.

Art.

Men.

Education.

The theater.

Dinosaur bones.

Thanksgiving dinner.

And last, but certainly not least… POLITICS.

I am a news junkie. I am a politics geek. Last night I was thrilled to see history unfold in front of my eyes as Congress voted on a new healthcare bill. The rabble-rousing that followed with an attempt to send the bill back to committee was surprising, but I was happy to witness it unfold and to watch the votes as they appeared on the television screen. What troubles me is how Americans are not talking about issues. There is no discourse, no attempt at understanding, merely talking heads shouting that the other side is wrong.

When did we decide that the right thing to do was to stand in judgment of someone because they have a different opinion? Isn’t it freedom that we Americans claim to live and fight for? Doesn’t freedom include freedom of speech and thought? I may not agree with many of my fellow Americans on a lot of very emotional issues, but I do believe we have the right to disagree. I do not believe it gives anyone the right to incivility.

I love to argue the issues of the day. Arguing has gotten a bad name.

To argue = To state reasons for or against a thing.

We spend so much time texting rather than talking that we have forgotten how to argue; how to listen to each other. We spend too much time shouting out what the ‘talking heads’ have told us. We need to hear what we are trying to tell each other.

Name calling is never an answer.

Assuming that the other side is just plain stupid makes no sense.

This morning my friend Liz posted a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that I believe is right on point. While we have not been hitting each other, we have been partaking in violence of thought.

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. – Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1967)

I hope we choose community.

2 comments:

Jakki said...

As a Brit it's been interesting to watch the heathcare reform bill's progress from a distance. We 'don't do' politics over here, we're apathetic to it. You'd never catch us Brits shouting about anything, we just mumble and tut a bit. However we all raised our voices, all be it only slightly, when our beloved NHS was questioned by many Americans (and some two bit prat of a British politician who saw an opening for a spot on Larry King). What do you mean you didn't hear us? We all had twibbons on our Twitter pages.... that's as vocal as we get!
I have lived my entire life under a national health service, I was delivered into this world by it, had my heart condition diagnosed at aged 4 by it, it set my badly broken leg aged 5, it removed and fixed my teeth (we don't all have bad teeth honest!), it safely saw me through the complicated birth of my daughter, it even fixed my American Uncles prosthetic leg for him during a visit here and it saved my grandfathers life on 2 occasions and he's now 90 and still going strong..... and all this cost me nothing!
Maybe I've been spoiled? But all it has confirmed to me is that everybody deserves access to healthcare regardless of wealth, creed or colour.
Our Doctors do not play God with peoples lives, they don't decide which of us live and which die (as some Americans fear may happen) , they give every Brit equal treatment. Yes it costs the country money but I'd rather they spent that money on our nations health rather than on futile wars! Is it perfect? No! But it's damn near!!!

amberen said...

Completely agree with the need for constructive debate in contemporary America. There has rarely been such a division in US politics, it is awful that they had to push this through but it is the republicans' fault for not meeting them halfway.