It appears that my last opinion column, “How I separate the right from the left” on April 14, caused a bit of a negative reaction.
First of all, when I emailed this opinion to our EDN editor, Jeff Long, my subject line was titled “Understanding the mind of a conservative.” My goal was to attempt to explain why we think and feel the way we do. This is often much different than how liberals view things.
One tenet of our country’s founding, that makes us different from most, if not all others, is that of free speech. It allows that we may not always agree on certain issues, but I will defend your right to say it. We’re losing that freedom when people are shamed or humiliated into silence.
I also prefer not to use labels, but in order for me to focus on our differences, I had to point out who, how and why we differ! Truly, my aim was not to cause more separation or division. We seem to have plenty of that already.
I meant to promote more enlightened understanding. But sadly, some misunderstood. I admit, it might have been the way I articulated it. As the saying goes, “It’s not always WHAT you say, but HOW you say it.” Saying it in a respectful way is important.
Admittedly, this is something very hard to do, for both sides, because we do get frustrated with each other at times, resulting in not always being tactful. However, my perspective is that conservatives have been called every kind of “deplorable” name in the book, and also been accused of many negative “isms”. I need not list them all.
I do agree, we need to listen more and empathize, trying not to come off sounding like we’re judging one other when we disagree. Doing a lot of finger-pointing, “what-about-isms” and playing the blame game is not helpful, but I admit I just did that in the preceding paragraph!
We can still attempt to understand the other side while not sacrificing our own beliefs. This a trait that needs to be developed. It doesn’t come naturally.
So, please allow me to attempt to clear up some misconceptions and misunderstandings. I do not think all Democrats are evil. However, I am familiar with the Democratic platform. I have to say I do not agree with their approach to solving our country’s foreign, domestic and societal problems.
That said, can we agree to disagree on that without becoming offended? Because when you hear or read something you don’t like or agree with, and then react to it as a criticism or an attack, it tends to put people on the defensive.
The EDN readers who were following this back and forth will be familiar with the push back I received. One critic thought my words were so inflammatory that they should not be allowed to be put into print. Kind of reminds me of how conservatives are being “canceled” by social media. It even went so far as to say my type of “garbage” rhetoric is what contributed to the U.S. Capitol breech on Jan. 6th!
One critic said my occasional columns are mostly on the same theme, saying all “Democrats are bad, Republicans are good. Praise the Lord and Reagan”. So that’s why I hesitated sending anything new in to the paper, especially if some readers are tired of hearing my repetitive opinions.
I also must impress upon everyone that my intent was not to demonize, but to evangelize! Our Lord did not create anyone to become evil. But we are also given the free will to make good or bad choices in our lives. There are many “forces” at work that can influence our words and actions. Is that fair to say?
Is is also fair to say that conservatives can be held hostage, forced into silence by being intimidated and/or humiliated? Frankly, it does take some courage to respond to what we’re seeing and hearing. We may not like it, but many don’t want to “ruffle any feathers”. Most people prefer to avoid conflict. But I felt the need to respond to my critics. There are tactics, which include virtue-signaling and gaslighting going on. These are newer terms that I’ve had to familiarize myself with.
I do not claim to be better than anyone else. No one is perfect. I also do not want to be seen as being selfish, if I make choices according to my conscience. That’s another thing that’s been under attack on several fronts. Conscience rights!
We should all try to live up to our national motto, “In God We Trust”. I also like the “One Nation Under God“ that’s still in our Pledge of Allegiance. I’m waiting for President Biden to bring about this unity, which he claims he desires. This is not a criticism, just an observation! We’ve all got our work cut out for us, to make this happen!