If you've been a careful student of been a regular reader of been an occasionally reader of ever read a post sentence word on this blog, you may have correctly inferred that I tend to be a little liberal in my leanings. It's an election year, and things are hard for me, because there are things that I feel very strongly about. So strongly, sometimes, that it feels to me that no sane person could possibly disagree. And because the older I get, the less willing I am to remain quiet about things, I occasionally frequently damn near always give voice to those feelings.
Invariably, some people disagree. The sanity of some of them might reasonably be questioned, and not just because of their intentional association with me.
The rest of them, though...that's another story. They can't be written off so easily. Nor, to be perfectly honest, do I want to.
Let me be perfectly frank here: I love me some Republicans. And to be grammatically correct, I must say that I love me (some) Republicans. I know Jesus wants me to love ALL my brothers and sisters and we are working on that, but it is not going so well some days. But I do, I love an awful lot of Republicans.
Some of the Republicans that make the news say verifiably false, sometimes crazy, things. They make the news disproportionately, and you can argue about why, but it's a settled fact that crazy talk makes good TV and headlines. The problem with this is that if you watch and read enough of it, you start to believe that the speakers/writers and all of their kind are crazy and callous and evil and that they are launching a war on all that is good and holy. Once you get to that stage you don't have to listen to them anymore, any of them, because the name of their party has become synonymous with "totally batshit nuts."
Unless... you actually know some of them. Like my old neighbor, who is a great, principled guy and a mile smarter than I. (Although I am smart enough to know I should say "smarter than I.") Or one of my best friends, who is kind, loving and compassionate, possibly because she's been through things in her life you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. One of the funniest bloggers I know. A fairly large handful of my cousins. Many of my dear friends from church. My brother. My husband, for Pete's sake.
I know these people. I know they love this country, and for the religious ones, that their religious faith is based in love, not hate and persecution. And they're Republicans.
So if I say all Republicans are crazy, or hate-filled, or greedy, or idiots, I'm saying it of them. Of my family and my friends. And I know it's not true of them. So I have to believe it's not true of a lot of other Republicans, either. Maybe most. Maybe, like the Republicans I love, they love this country and want what's best for it. We disagree about how to get there an awful lot. It's hard for me to remember sometimes that the people who disagree with me aren't doing it because they're evil. They're doing it because they're wrong. (Kidding there, folks!) They're doing it because these are complex issues and there are rarely simple answers. Where there are, they're usually wrong.
This blog post isn't going to make anyone change their vote, and it might make some people feel angry and betrayed. I'm sorry about that. But stereotyping is lazy, and name-calling shuts down discourse. I will continue to become frustrated when what seems obvious to me is perceived so differently by others. I will howl with that frustration sometimes. But I will never assume that you're evil just because you disagree with me, and I will always try to understand where you're coming from.
Please do the same for me.