With Liberty and Justice for ALL — not just the folks who are like me

Posted Aug 19 2012, 9:03 pm in

Over the past few weeks, my social network feeds have been flooded with political diatribes. I watched a friendship unravel on Facebook over opposing views on gun control following the movie theater tragedy. My heart broke for a friend in deep personal agony over his relatives’ support of Chick Fil-A’s hate menu. I read arguments for and against abortion, birth control, gay marriage, veterans’ benefits, the economy, the current flock of candidates, whether the word ‘vagina’ is an offensive term. I’ve even seen friends demand a No Politics policy on Facebook.

And throughout most of it, I’ve been silent.

Oh, not because I don’t have an opinion – I do. Of course, I do. I choose not to engage due to several highly personal reasons that I won’t share here.

What I do want to share is this emphatic reminder… America was founded on principles of freedom and rights – basic civil liberties designed to deliver equality for all. Did you get that last part – for all. It seems to me that we are a nation of hypocrites. We do a whole lot of shouting and screaming about our freedom and equality and rights, but then turn around and do our level best to deny those liberties to others who shout and scream an opposing view. What we should be doing is listening, looking for the compromise that actively ensures the very equality and freedoms we claim to hold so dear. To do anything less isn’t just hypocritical, I think it’s un-American.

I want to see people hold conversations that find ways to uphold the rights and freedom for both sides  — even when they’re in violent opposition. I’d like to see conversations where religious ideals are not used to promote the hatred of and intolerance toward others. We just landed a rover on Mars – MARS, people. Why can’t we make this happen?

Every time that you argue against something, remember someone else has the right granted by the Constitution to argue for it. Instead of screaming that “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people”, let’s see the NRA sit down with the Brady Bill people to define gun laws that preserve the second amendment to the Constitution while simultaneously securing our right to see a movie, visit a supermarket, fire a poorly performing employee, and so on, without risk to life and limb. I want to own a gun AND know I’m safe from flying bullets when I see the next Twilight movie.

Let’s see a debate for and against same-sex marriage that does not pull ancient biblical definitions of marriage that should have no bearing on law-making (separation of Church and State, anybody?) into the conversation but instead, grants equal rights to all people who want to marry, regardless of sexual orientation. Even if you’re not homosexual, even if you think homosexuality is a blight, you ARE American and as an American, you should be infuriated that a citizen’s rights are being denied — any citizen, even if you hate everything they stand for.

Whatever your opinion is, whatever your position – you have the right to argue it and defend it and sleep with it if you want, but know that everyone else has that same right. If you’re stating those positions online, you’re inviting debate so why not embrace the dialogue, instead of shutting it down?

You might just learn something. I sure have.

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