In order to thrive a society must evolve, its attitudes, beliefs, and morals must evolve as well. As the society evolves faster, traditional dogma and paradigms become subjects of great debate, often heated. Over the 236 years since our nation’s independence and the 223 years since the Constitution went into effect this nation has witnessed great debates on human and civil rights, often with the role of religion at the center. This often results in the polarization of the population with those that oppose change squaring off with those that see change as natural and necessary; conservatives versus progressives.
I have written extensively about America’s history with respect to the war between free thinking and enlightenment on one side and religion on the other. I also have heard the arguments that it was Democrats in the South that supported slavery, created the KKK, and opposed civil rights; a hollow argument considering those same southerners now represent today’s Republican base. I have also analyzed the historic comparisons of economic performance between Republicans and Democrats and commented on the relative achievements of various administrations. But that’s not what I am worried about.
I have been called a communist, socialist, and a liberal. I am certainly not a communist and I am no socialist. I don’t consider myself a liberal maybe because I am less interested in labels which is why I am a non-aligned political independent (is that a label or description?). I am a pragmatic, learn-from-the-past but plan-the-future sarcastic realist. But above all I believe in inclusion over exclusion, and when it comes to social progress I definitely lean towards to inclusion.
I am still amazed that in 2012 some of our conversations still center on human decency. So as the right as proven that its ‘fiscal conservative’ label is a farce (read: 1980-1988 and 2000-2004)it has adopted a socially conservative embodiment that is more reactionary than conservative. In comparison to the new right, I just may be a liberal. And while I consider my label, the Republican Party, the once Grand Ole Party has become an American Taliban. A party lacking compassion and love. A party that seeks to exclude and deny. While they hide behind legality, they exhibit little morality. They demagogue every issue to build fear and hate while unscrupulously using tragedy to raise money. Compassionate conservative? Unicorns and elves.
So to me the choice is very simple: if you believe “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”, the choice should be simple to you too.
If you believe all men are created equal then things like DOMA, DADT, voter suppression, voter purging, and SB1070 are abhorrent as they seek deny and exclude. If you oppose immigration reform, the Dream Act, voter registration drives, same sex marriage, and mosque construction you will likely never see the other side of the equation. You see the difference between those that chose inclusion over exclusion is simple: we know it is messy, we know that existing laws may need to be overturned, we know it requires compromise, and we know it requires trust to accomplish great things. Nearly every person I converse with who chooses exclusion lacks the ability to accept the future and see the new order. And sadly many choose religious dogma as their rationale for denying and excluding.
In 80 days we go to the polls to vote for president, congressmen, state and local officials and probably a number of referendums and ballot initiatives. Some will vote on economic issues, social issues, religion, color of skin, experience, what they heard on the radio, what they saw on TV, etc. The campaign will continue to feature misleading ads, lies, half-truths, innuendo, and lots of noise and little substance. Budgets, deficits, and debt issues will get resolved, They always do. This forward thinking inclusive minded pragmatist says the status quo is almost always antiquated by the time it becomes the status quo. Look forward, act bold, and include.