In my experience, true political discourse, between two private citizens, one being liberal and one being conservative, is a very rare thing, if it exists at all in today's America. However, if such a discourse should take place, it would go something like this:
“Hi Connie it's me Libby; How are you today?”
“OK I guess. I'm just getting tired of these presidential primaries going on for so long. They have been campaigning for over a year, and there is no end in sight. The news programs don't cover anything else besides the campaign. I don't know what is happening in Congress, the world, our country, or our city because all they are covering on the news programs, is Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Clinton and Obama have faced off in eighteen debates so far. I wish the news coverage wouldn't obsess so much on this election and just go back to doing their job of covering “all” of the news.”
Libby responds: “Well, I guess that is true, but you can't blame them, this may very well be the most important, groundbreaking, historical, election of all time.”
“Why is this election so important?” asks Connie, “There are so many serious issues facing our nation today. Is it because of the “war on terror” or the threat from China or because of the high price of oil and our failing economy or because of illegal immigration or because of the “culture war? We are living in very dangerous and unstable times”.
“No stupid, it's so obvious, are you blind?” Asked Libby, “Barrack Obama is an African American and Hillary Clinton is a woman. It is likely that for the first time in our nations history, we will elect a black man or a woman, as president of the United States. Wouldn't that be wonderful? It would show how much progress women and minorities are making and what a truly diverse nation we have become. That would make me proud, for the first time in my life, to be an American.”
“Libby, we live in dangerous times, I think that we must be careful to choose the best person for the job” said Connie.”
“That's exactly what I'm saying,” said Libby, “look where our country is today because we always had old white men running things. I for one, say it's time for a change.”
“I'm ready for a change also, I think that we should enforce our immigration laws, I think that we should fight the war on terror with vigor, I think that the US should become independent from foreign oil by drilling in ANWR and off of Florida's coast and by building nuclear power plants. I think that we should stop enriching our enemies and dismantling our factories because of unfair trade practices with countries like China. I think that we should lower taxes on individuals and businesses in order to encourage economic growth and reduce the size and scope of government. I think that we should cut down on government spending instead of increasing it with programs like universal health care, which we can't afford and government is unable to manage. I think that we need to make drastic changes in social security and Medicare programs, in order to relieve future generations of this huge burden that they will inherit,” said Connie.
“Jesus, you're a real jack-ass Connie” said Libby, “ are all you conservatives such mean spirited, bigoted, uncaring, hate mongers? I can't believe that you actually admit that you are in favor of war. Who in their right mind wants to kill innocent people besides hypocrites like you. I am for children, but I'm not in favor of killing them, whether they are American soldiers or Iraqi children, they are still human beings. Next, haven't you ever heard of global warming? Do you also hate the Earth? Drilling for oil in ANWR and the off shores of Florida is bad for the environment, we need to find “green” sources of energy. Besides, another Alaskan pipeline will kill the caribou and disturb the environment, in our most pristine wildlife refuge. Drilling offshore will cause oil spills, off the coast of Florida, that will kill birds fish and foul Florida's coasts. Why do you want tax cuts for the rich while poor people are starving and can't afford medical care? What makes America so special, we should trade with China because their people are so poor, they need jobs too, and it also helps our economy by providing cheaper goods for poor people in the US. I can't believe that you are such a xenophobe that you actually want to punish poor Mexican Americans that only want a better way of life for their families. How can you possibly be against health care for poor people? Do you want to see them all get sick and die? Is that your way of eliminating poverty? It's jackasses like you that hate children, animals, the Earth itself, poor people and people of different races, that just makes me furious. Why do you hate so much? Is it because you are a loser with no life? Why you are so resentful of anyone who cares about people, like I do. You are also a bigot for hating Mexicans and the Chinese people who only want a better way of life. And what do have against poor people? We need more taxes on bigots like you, to help them out. Why don't you want to be a good person and help people? Why don't you care about people, animals or the planet? I don't understand how people like you can be so mean.”
“Libby, can you please stick to the facts and leave your hateful emotions out of this discussion?” Asked Connie.
“OK, but it is a fact that you are a hateful bigot who who also hates the earth and people who are nice”, quipped Libby. “It's useless to talk to racists like you. No wonder you are against a black man or a woman for president. By voting for a black man or a woman, I am showing the world how progressive and open minded I am. I'm just not sure which one I will be voting for, but I definitely won't be voting for an that old white man.”
So it is true that you are basing your vote on race and sex,” said Connie. “So how can you call me a racist or sexist? Aren't you being a hypocrite?”
“God, you are so stupid, you can't see the forest though the trees. Can't you see that I am proving that I am not a racist or sexist precisely because I am voting for a black or a woman. White men have been in charge from the start, and look at the shape we are in now. The police are beating and locking up minorities, just look at the Rodney King beating or the prison statistics. Blacks are incarcerated at a rate of six-to-one, compared with whites. More minorities are dropping out of high school and not being admitted to colleges than whites are. Most of the nations poor are minorities. So what am I supposed to think in a country where there are more blacks in prison than there are in universities. Of course this is a racist country, open your eyes. And as for women, there is a glass ceiling. Women earn less money than men that are doing the same job, and men are in the majority of CEO positions in all our major corporations and there has never been a woman or black president before. I can't wait to see that change,” said Libby.
“Boy Libby, you have touched on so many topics, I would love to address each and every one if you would give me a chance. Fist let me start off by saying that the very definition of being a racist or sexist is a person that judges people based solely on their race or sex. By definition, that would make you a racist and sexist, not me.”
Libby interrupted, “What nerve you have, you are the racist. You already said that you don't want Mexicans and Chinese to have good jobs, you probably hate blacks too. I can't be a racist or sexist because I only want to do good things for women and minorities. I want to give them a hand up, not a hand out. I'm just trying to be a good person and you call me a racist, you're not only pathetic, you are not living in reality, you jerk.”
“But by giving blacks and women preferential treatment, aren't you discriminating against white men?
Libby answered angrily, “you really are stupid. White men don't need preferential treatment, they are already getting it, they run America, it's time for a change.”
Connie answers, “All I am saying is that we should judge people by their character and abilities, not by their sex or their race. Martin Luther King said “ Judge not by the color of one's skin but by the content of one's character.” Do you think Martian Luther King was also being a racist?
“Now you are getting downright insulting, by calling Martian Luther King a racist,” said Libby. “You are the racist. King was talking about blacks, you moron”.
“No”, said Connie, “King was talking about all people, the human race. I believe that there are more minorities in jail because it just so happens that they committed more crimes”.
“Well you would commit crimes too if you were poor and had no chance of getting a good job and couldn't afford college” said Libby.
“Libby, there is plenty of opportunity in the US for everyone, if they have the ambition, patience and self discipline to go after it. There are many first generation Chinese and Indian immigrants who have become successful in business and they send their children to college” said Connie. “ I believe that the reason why many blacks remain poor, and get in trouble with the law, is not because of their race, but because of a moral bankruptcy that comes from being brought up without their father in their home. Many Backs in the US have no family values because they are brought up by single moms, and it becomes a vicious cycle.” said Connie.
“Now you are against single moms too, you're not only a racist but you are a sexist too, no wonder you hate Hillary and Obama” interrupted Libby.
Connie answers, “Currently 70% of blacks are being born out of wedlock, 35% of Hispanics are born out of wedlock and about 20% of whites are born out of wedlock. Statistics for crime, high school drop-out rate and poverty are surprisingly reflective of these statistics. Many children these days, especially those born to single moms, do not receive any form of spiritual, moral or religious training in churches, at home and certainly not in school. These youngsters are often unsupervised and allowed to “run wild” in the streets, and they have no moral or spiritual guidance. They feel lonely and unloved and angry about their predicament. Often they put the blame on those who try to “reel-them-in”, such as teachers, police, and the “good” people of the community. In many cases, their anger turns into hostility and rage and they do bad things and get in trouble with the law.”
I was wondering how long it would be before you tried to force “your morality” on me. You conservative hypocrites are all the same,” said Libby. “Most of you are cheating on your wives or cheating your taxes, and most catholic priests are child molesters, and you are the first ones to preach about morality. Well let me tell you and your phony God this; The most moral thing we can all do is to help the poor and underprivileged and the sick, and also save the planet by ending global warming. We can also not be so judgmental of poor people and people of color and especially of struggling single moms. Also I would like to tell you, Mr. Hypocrite, that single moms are the hardest working, most unappreciated people on Earth and you should give them credit instead of blaming crime and poverty on them. You are such a sexist, I can't believe it. Did you ever hear about the separation between church and state? Keep your so-called morals to yourself. Most wars were fought in the name of religion, and war is bad. The world would be better of without people like you who preach religion and God. Judgmental people like you are the real problem.”
“Well Libby, I was afraid that you wouldn't be able to contain your vitriol. I was hoping to have a civil discussion with you, but I have never succeeded in that when debating with a liberal”.
“That's because you are such a mean hateful person” quipped Libby. “I just want to help people, because it makes me feel good to be a nice person, but all you want to do is to put people down, especially people who are different than you. You are a monster.”
“Libby, I'm afraid that you are misunderstanding me,” said Connie. “I too want the best for everybody.”
“You sure don't act like it” interrupted Libby. “Why are you so mean and judgmental?”
Let me finish” answered Connie. “I think that it is best for the individual as well as society if we all aspire to live up to universal spiritual principles. These principles include the inalienable rights that our forefathers wrote about in our declaration of independence. However, freedom needs to be balanced with restraints. Just like in physics, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is also a spiritual universal law that, try as you like, it can not be broken. If we do not restrain our own freedoms with the restraint found in spiritual principles, and morality we will, in the end, be restrained by our family, by our community, by economics, by the law, or by God. By following spiritual principles, we will be in harmony with “the natural order” and we will prosper and find peace within ourselves and with our neighbors. We won't be needy or angry. We will be content and an asset to our families and to the greater society around us. No government program can provide the restraint and freedom that we will find by following Gods laws. However, if we are unable to balance our freedoms with Gods laws, mans laws will be there to take up the slack, and we will find ourselves in a struggle to prosper, to find contentment and to stay out of jail.”
“Are you saying that you are perfect or something,” asked Libby. “I don't believe that you never lied, cheated or stole something. That's why your a hypocrite. You go around telling everyone else how to live but you feel that it is OK for you to break your own rules because you think that you are superior. You holy rollers are all alike, a bunch of phony do gooders. I know the difference between right and wrong, I don't need some God to tell me how to live. Doing good things makes me feel good, so I do as much good as possible. Your spiritual principles don't tell you to recycle or to go to benefit concerts or to live green, or to give money to homeless people, or to do volunteer work; Do they? Those things make me feel good, so I know I am doing the right thing. I always compliment people instead of judging them because I know that it makes them feel good and that makes me feel good. Isn't making each other feel good what it's all about? Or are you against happiness too?”
“Libby, of course I'm not against happiness. What I am saying is that true happiness can not be achieved by chasing after pleasure, it is a by-product of living right. Besides, I feel that there are more important things than happiness.”
“What could possibly be more important than happiness? If everyone were happy, it would be a perfect world,” interrupted Libby.
“Here is where we disagree,” said Connie. “I do not believe there ever has been, or will ever be, universal peace on earth and happiness for all. Now, that is no reason for being depressed and not doing good things. Quite the opposite, the fact that evil exists, and always has existed, gives us all the opportunity to do good things and to strive to conquer evil. Giving in to evil or accepting or trying to “get along” with evil, does not work. Evil, by it's very nature, will deceive us, and manipulate us, tempt us, and use us for it's own purpose. No, we cannot form an alliance with evil, when confronted, evil must be restrained. This is how we grow spiritually and improve our souls in preparation for the after-life. You see, there is no such thing as perfection in this world, and yes I have lied cheated and stolen. If I hadn't had those temptations, I would not be human. But at the same time my shortcomings, if I can identify and recognize them as such, give me the opportunity to improve myself and practice spiritual principles. These principles include: Patience, Humility, Integrity, Honesty, Selflessness, Self-sacrifice, Acceptance, Courage, Responsibility, Self-Discipline, Love, Forgiveness, and Faith. That is the whole point of religion, to help us distinguish between the good and evil within ourselves, and to strengthen the good that exists within all of us and restrain the evil inclinations that we all have. I believe that these spiritual principles are universal truths that never change. The more in-line with Gods law we are, the more peace and happiness we will find on earth. Anger, resentment, selfishness, hate, impatience, irresponsibility, pride, pleasure seeking, deception, gluttony and cowardliness are all weaknesses that will lead us away from true fulfillment found only by bringing ourselves in line with God's laws. It is not up to us to pick and choose which principle to practice and when. These principles are universal and grounded in bedrock. Justifications can always be made for doing the wrong thing but it is impossible to get away with it, because God knows everything that we are doing. There is no fooling God.”
“Well”, said Libby, “thats all well and good for you with all of your evil inclinations that you are struggling with, but I don't have those evil inclinations like you. All I want is peace, love and happiness for myself and for everyone else. I don't see any harm in that. You must be the evil one, you said it yourself that you have evil inclinations. You are the one trying to deceive me by telling me that pleasure seeking is wrong. You're just jealous and hard hearted because you are miserable.”
Libby, you are calling me jealous and hard-hearted, you also called me stupid, hateful, mean spirited, racist, sexist, moronic, and other insults. That is just plain wrong in a discussion with a colleague with whom you just happen to disagree,” said Connie. “You liberals are all alike, when someone disagrees with your way of thinking, you take it as a personal attack. You are the one being very defensive here and you are the one who is being close-minded and unwilling to take an honest look at what I am saying. Instead you hurl insults and tell me that I am a bad person for not falling in line and seeing things your way.”
“Are you nuts?” shouted Libby. “You are the one telling me what to think and how to live my life. You are the one putting on an aire of superiority. You are the one telling me that I will burn in hell if I don't fall in line and do exactly what you say is right, according to your morals. I don't have to take this from you just because you are jealous that I am happy and you are sexually frustrated.”
“Libby, come back to Earth, think about our conversation. I was only telling you my views, I wasn't telling you what to do. Why does it anger you so to hear my beliefs? I said nothing hateful or out of anger. You are the one calling me names in anger. Can't you see that?” begged Connie.
“All I know is that you are an intolerant religious zealot and being around you is a bummer,” said Libby. “You are very judgmental and say things just to make people feel bad. You want everyone to be exactly like you and if they're not, then your mean to them. You should be more like me and build up peoples self-esteem instead of tearing them down and making them feel awful.”
Libby turned and walked away quickly, trying to remove herself from a painful situation as quickly as possible. As she left Connie cried out, “Libby, can't you see that you are the one that is intolerant, angry and resentful because I don't think and behave like you, not the other way around?”
Libby increased her pace, put her hands over her ears and shouted, “shut up, you are the mean one, anyone with half a brain could see that, leave me alone you fascist pig”. Libby turned around just long enough to flip Connie the bird(show the middle finger) and then walked away.
This little fictional conversation is typical of many true life conversations that I have had with liberals. Pick the topic, religion just happened to be used in this fictional conversation, but it could have just as well been about gay marriage, global warming, homeschooling, the Iraq war, health care, welfare, the economy, illegal immigration, tax cuts, abortion, etc. Liberals themselves tend to be very intolerant of any views that put any restraint on any type of behavior. Anything that is not sympathetic to their viewpoint and doesn't make them “feel good”is taken as a personal insult and is dealt with by hurling insults and character assassinations back. Pretty soon they become so emotional that they are no-longer able to hold a conversation at all and just walk away claiming that you are impossible to deal with for a variety of non-existent reasons. I challenge any liberal to a civilized debate, I'd love to have one, it's never happened yet.