Saturday, September 25, 2010

Raising the bar . . .

"We need to in this country begin again to raise civil discourse to another level. I mean, we shout and scream and yell and get very little accomplished, but you can disagree very much with the next guy and still be friends and acquaintances." ~ Leah Ward Sears [Sears, an African-American female jurist, was the Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court from 2005 until her retirement in 2009.]

What has happened to civil discourse in this country? We -- that is the royal we, have become uncivil and coarse . . . behind this, I believe, is fear . . . fear that is being fanned by professional politicians and entertainers, ugh, commentators who are more concerned, imho, with lining their coffers than the health of our country.

When I subscribed to Face Book I became friends with many people who I didn't know through my aunt and cousin . . . to be frank that side of the family has always been different than my family . . . although I didn't grow up in the "big city" I did grow up in a thinking environment (both my family and the community) and also in a denomination that stresses thinking -- sometimes to the detriment of experience . . . and yes, I understand that this sounds really pejorative . . . I don't mean it this way . . . my cousin and my aunt are really wonderful woman, but they grew up in small, rural, conservative communities . . . those experiences shaped them to be conservative today . . . both politically and religiously . . . they are on the Christian Right (they are so on the Christian Right that my aunt and uncle would not come to hear me preach one Sunday when I was preaching in their hometown and staying at their house . . . OUCH!) . . . they are devotees of Bill O'Reilley and Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Express . . . and so are the Face Book Friends.

One of these is a lovely woman . . . she posts primarily inspirational ditties . . . things I really appreciate and when I disagree we have been able to have wonderful theological cyper discussions . . . I really like here EXCEPT . . . she hates President Obama . . . not just his policies, she hates him and is counting down to the days he is out of office . . . I don't understand how good people can have this much hatred for a person they don't know . . . yes, I know it is fear . . . what I don't understand is where this fear comes from . . . yes, I know that it flies out of FOX every night . . . but how can good people believe this dribble?

Today she posted 15 mug shots of people wearing Obama T-shirts . . . when I took exception to this by pointing out that The Smoking Gun Web Site who posted this in 2008 immediately following the election related that these 15 were taken from tens of thousands she got upset . . . I only passed it on . . . yes, she passed it on but was unable to see the not so subtle message . . . that Obama supporters are thugs . . . when I suggested that I could probably have found 15 people arrested the night of the Saints Superbowl win wearing Saints T-shirts, but that this didn't make Saints' fans (which she is one) thugs, she couldn't get it.

I hate to be overly dramatic, but I wonder if this is how people were feeling as Hitler and the Nazis were gaining power in Germany . . . yes, I see some parallels and frankly it scares the you know what out of me . . . I am praying that sanity will return and with it a willingness to engage in civil discourse as we try to discern a way out of the mess that we have made of this country.

Lord, have mercy on us,


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