I am one of the progressive liberals who loves to read, and sometimes, to post on Red State. I love this site for the things it teaches me, the ideas it reflects and the diversity of views (some powerful to my mind, others not so much — to my mind, at least) which its posters and diarists express every single day. I love it for the fact that it destroys, on a daily basis, the prevailing myth in some liberal spheres that “conservatives” all subscribe to some sort of uniform thought-paradigm of single-minded bigoted, greed mongering ignorance, when in fact, it demonstrates the opposite — that conservatives (at least the ones who post here regularly) are thoughtful, diverse, intelligent, open-minded and very socially conscious — they just differ on how to achieve the same sorts of goals my progressive friends seek, and are pretty sure they know a better way. Sometimes, they make great arguments. Sometimes (at least to my mind), they do not. But I am almost always impressed.
That said, I do have the benefit of great conservative friends with whom I can often engage in vigorous but respectful debate, usually humorous, often irreverent, but always with an underpinning of decades of true friendship that will hold up even when we (sometimes) come to angry silence or one of us (ok, it’s often me) goes too far. I have also come to the conclusion — and this is a gross generalization for which I apologize unreservedly to my liberal brethren and sistren – that my conservative friends have a better sense of humor than my dogmatic liberal friends. Sorry, some cliches are true.
Anyway, I read a few weeks ago with horror Erick Erickson’s post (I think it was entitled “My Wish” — which I am borrowing/stealing for my post) about the unforgivable verbal and other attacks he had been subjected to by those who purported to disagree with his political and cultural writings — the nasty, unforgivable, cowardly, sometimes even violent and intimidating threats he had endured, some in front of his own children — from those of my own political leanings. I read it with shame and with the growing feeling that somehow I might be responsible too — for I often engage in rhetorical bomb throwing with my conservative friends. As I read Mr. Erickson’s diary, and as a father myself who has been married for 25 years and have a daughter living not too far from Mr. Erickson, I was truly embarrassed and sorry that anyone who disagreed with his writings could feel so entitled, so morally superior, so unjustifiably righteous, to engage in such behavior. And I appreciated his high-minded, thoughtful response in his diary — not to reciprocate with anything like that kind of crap, but to wish for a better dialogue, a more spiritual discussion, a respect founded on (in Mr. Erickson’s view) the teachings of his religion.
Now, I am not a Christian. I do not subscribe to Mr. Erickson’s religious views, nor those of many who post here. I suppose of am a bit of cliche, again, of the liberal humanist — raised a Reform Jew, educated at Berkeley, handed a Volvo and latte at an impressionable age, and otherwise pretty agnostic. That said, I am not so tone deaf (or uneducated) not to understand that of the prevailing religious moral codes out there, those of Jesus Christ are among the most beautiful. That comes as well from my parents-in-law, who are devout Presbyterians, quietly (cause they’re Swedish, you know), but teaching through example rather than lecture. And from my many conversations with my devout friends. What more beautiful and compelling example of moral direction can there be than that of a God who sacrificed himself for the human race. My God — the God of the ancient Jews — was, well, not to put too fine a point on it, kind of mean and pretty insecure. I mean, he’d happily destroy anyone who didn’t sacrifice the right meat to him, or who happened to tie one on before entering the Temple. Dude, (I’d think to myself in my typically SoCal teen lingo), lighten up — you know, just cause the guy got a buzz on before making the burnt offerings doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you.
Anyway, I digress.
Here’s my point, and my wish for 2014. I wish and I hope that Red State continues to articulate its full-throated advocacy for conservative ideals and why those ideals are best for us all. I do not want to wage or to win a politically correct censorship of unpopular ideas, I do not want my liberal comrades to shout down any of you. I want to continue to be able to come here and to listen and to learn and to appreciate. Even if, when I log off, I do not agree or, and this is true, I’m even angry at times.
Because it is so important. You are important. Your views are important and need to be expressed.
I also wish that, perhaps, some of you might recognize that not all progressives and liberals are the demonized folk that some like to make us out to be. I am proud of my 25 year marriage to the same woman, whom I love with all my heart even today, and whom I am confident I will continue to love and cherish and (pretend to) obey (whether gay people can get married or not). I am proud of my two daughters, whom I have raised with a liberal political bent to my own self-destruction as they are now independent, vigorous, funny, whip smart and on their way to making this world a better place, with or without my permission. I am proud of much of my own work and advocacy on behalf of people whose voices are often not heard, or shouted down, or ignored.
As most of your are justifiably proud of your conservatism, I am proud to be a Democrat and a liberal. And I say that, knowing that I love this country, that I want it stronger not weaker, that I believe that capitalism is the best economic system we’ve been able to come up with. I don’t want to eliminate religion from our public discourse, I don’t want to impose governmental control over aspects of our lives that should be unregulated and I don’t believe that everything Barack Obama does should be worshipped as if it were a Papal decree. (My favorite political moment of the last couple years came not from my President or my party or my Senators, but from the brave and awesome filibuster from Rand Paul on the drone strikes — THAT was kick-ass).
I love the Constitution of the United States of America. For more than six years, I taught Con Law at a local law school for a small stipend, and treasured every moment of it.
We are a great country. We are a country with very different views from radically different geographic, cultural, economic, religious and, of course, political people. And we have always joined together when it mattered most — to defend EACH OTHER — from those who have no idea what that means, and that brothers and sisters can fights like cats and dogs, but god forbid any outsider try to get in the middle of that.
I Wish. I Wish for more Red State. I Wish for more Daily Kos. I wish that every person who posts on Daily Kos regularly spend at least one day a week quietly reading Red State and THINKING about what you folks post, before reacting. I wish that every person who posts on Red State regularly do the same. And I wish that, maybe, once a month or so, a few of us go somewhere on the Net of our creation to post just one observation each of one point we learned from those readings with which we agree — just one.
And then, we can spend the rest of the time mocking the Kardashians.
Thank you for another great year of political and cultural commentary and instruction. Remember what Winston Churchill said, “If you’re young and not a liberal, you have no heart, and if you’re older and not a conservative, you have no brain.”
From One Who Remains (for better or worse) Forever Young At Heart, Happy Holidays and MERRY CHRISTMAS and Happy New Year, my brothers and sisters on Red State.