American Animosity


Gary, my uncle-in-law, forwarded this message to me, and the rest of the family today:

In Their Own Words: Iraq’s ‘Imminent’ Threat:

But the above links are just my liberal bleeding heart support of terrorism, obviously. “We now know who wants Kerry elected–The socialists of Europe–Iran and the terrorists despots of the middle east–Al Queda–the United Nations gang–the American media–the American university elites and a whole bunch of assholes living all amongst us–Pete”

Socialists in Europe generally enjoy a much better standard of living than we hard-working freedom lovers in the U.S.

The U.N. gang? Puh-leeze!

I particularly enjoy having messages forwarded to me that call me an asshole. Very nice. Thanks, Gary.

I absolutely love ad hominem attacks. Call me names because you don’t agree with me. That’s simple gradeschool bullying, not advanced citizenship as is required of adults in these challenging times.

The forwarded message includes quotes from Heritage Foundation employees. Here’s the Heritage Foundation’s description of themselves: “Founded in 1973, The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institute - a think tank - whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.”

Hardly a non-partisan, unbiased organization. Their critiques of Democratic candidates is nothing more than the political polemics and invective they complain about. You’re going to have to cite a more balanced source if you want me to listen to your point of view – especially after having been called an asshole!

I wish more conservatives would stand behind this conservative credo:

I like Bush’s comments on the vote in Iran: “I am very disappointed in the recently disputed parliamentary elections in Iran,” President Bush said. “The disqualification of some 2,400 candidates by the unelected Guardian Council deprived many Iranians of the opportunity to freely choose their representatives.”

Excuse me, Mr. Pot? There’s a Mr. Kettle on line one.

Jeff Butler, who wasn’t even in my list of recipients, replied with the following:

I haven’t met a liberal yet that admits that they are far left. I am a Christian and a Conservative. I admit it and am proud of it. I guess libs are ashamed to admit that they are far left because then most Americans will tune them out. Instead libs concoct lies and hide their real message.

Kerry can’t come out and say what he really thinks because it will prove for once and all that he is one of the most liberal candidates for President since McGovern.

I replied thus:

My name is Scott. I’m a 29 year old step-father to twin daughters. I grew up in a middle-class Catholic family. My parents have been married for 35 years. I’ve worked in countries throughout Europe, as well as Hong Kong. I’ve also visited Russia and Peru. I like to think that I am a world citizen, and that the welfare of the world as a whole is more important than the welfare of the nation that I was born in (as I had no choice in where I was born).

I try to avoid broad labels like “liberal” and “conseravtive” on the whole, because I think the world is a complicated place. Sometimes a liberal policy is appropriate, and sometimes a conservative policy is appropriate. Sometimes each can be effective at the same time, with different outcomes. I try to look ahead, and consider the long-term ramifications of things.

I don’t hide the fact that I support and promote liberal social issues. I’m passionately interested in the welfare, safety, and dignity of my fellow citizens. I’m interested in promoting education, and social awareness. I donate money to my local museum and art houses because I think the expansion and preservation of world culture – whether I personally agree with all of it or not – is important. I donate to soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and the Red Cross. Human beings are more important than any ideology.

I don’t buy into the historical concept of “The American Dream” that equates success with wealth. As such, most “conservative” fiscal policy strikes me as selfish and short-sighted. I don’t mind paying taxes because I recognize that it’s the price for the benefits I receive from the government. I don’t mind helping others monetarily, because I hope that they would be willing to help me if the situation was reversed.

I didn’t support the invasion of Iraq, and I’m opposed to the current occupation; but I’m intelligent enough to know that a total withdrawl now will be as devastating to the country as our initial aggression was. I don’t approve of the use of violence to solve problems, and I take great pains to educate my children how to resolve their problems without violence.

It’s a complicated world. I acknowledge that I don’t have the answers. I only have opinions.

I’m not ashamed to admit my liberal leanings. But they’re just that - my leanings. My leanings do not infringe your right to make and hold your own opinions. I’m not opposed to learning new things, and changing my mind. Benjamin Franklin has some good thoughts on the matter: … for, having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged, by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that, the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment of others. Most men, indeed, as well as most sects in religion, think themselves in possession of all truth, and that wherever others differ from them, it is so far error.

I’m not interested in getting into a political debate with you, jbutler452. Your aggressive response suggests to me that your mind is made up, and that you’re not interested in hearing other points of view. I’ll respect that right of yours if you extend to me the same courtesy.

Cheers, Scott

Pete Johnson, author of the original message, replied with this:

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