26 May 2009

Patriot Act

I am a very liberal-minded, and liberal-voting, person, who happens to have many close friends who fall at various spots on the right of the political spectrum. Many of my friends not only vote republican, but participated in some of the more, in my opinion, ugly and hateful Obama-bashing before (and since) the last election (and some throw some nice immigrant/gay bashing into the mix). When it's an online post or a forwarded email, most of the time I don't respond because we've had the discussions, and when we have it again I'd rather we can both really hear each other.

One of these friends (we'll call him S) is someone whom I've kept in touch with pretty regularly since I left North Carolina almost two years ago. He is a huge Texan man, an MP in the Army, and a loyal and protective friend and husband. He also sends me email forwards on a weekly basis, and while most of them are funny, a chunk of them consist of inflammatory right-wing rhetoric. Whereas usually I'm pretty good at letting things roll off and picking my battles, when I actually read one of those yesterday, a 'school teachers letter to Obama', it just really pissed me off.
What follows is my reply to him:

"Hi S,

I want you to know I hope you are doing very well; I hope you are happy and safe where you are.

I would love to hear from you, anything at all from you, but I would like you to stop sending me all these forwards.

I would love to have a conversation with you, an intelligent conversations, about what you think about the president and why. I know you are a smart man and have an opinion that I have no doubt I'd love to hear. Personally, I've supported President Obama for a long time and think he is doing a pretty good job, especially considering the shit sandwich he was handed.

Why is it that when it was President Bush in office, and somebody opposed him, they were being unpatriotic, especially because we were at war, but people who shamelessly attack President Obama with spite and vigor (although we are still at war, whars he opposed but has now taken as his own), are just doing their duty as citizens?

I want to hear someone honestly answer that question. I think a true patriot is someone who does think, who questions themselves as well as their leaders, and is willing to speak out in dissent. But where did our respect for each other and each others opinions go? Just because we don't agree on many things doesn't mean we can't still have respect and love for each other.

I am offended by the hateful and dishonest propoganda that speeds around the internet stirring up fear and distrust in its wake. If I wanted to participate in that kind of thinking, the 'if you're not with us you're against us' thinking, I would watch Fox News.

Everything is not black and white, in fact, I think most of us are in the gray, but somehow we are being convinced that whatever side you're on, there's just no way to meed in the middle.

Please don't take this personally S, as I have the utmost respect for you, your job, and your family. You know me and I think you understand that.



1 comment:

  1. Nice letter, Caitlin! And, Obama certainly was handed a shit sandwich. (That made me laugh out loud!) I, too, think being patriotic is not following left or right wing propaganda that comes out of fear, but questioning anything and everything you don't understand. Free thought and debate is what democracy is all about. Kudos to you for standing up for what you think. I have send similar emails to my father after receiving some ridiculous forwards, so I totally know where you are coming from.