I’ve seen a post on various feeds in the last year or so which recounts how ‘the Lord’ has taken one’s favourite actors and favourite singer. It then goes on to point out to the Lord that their favourite President is Barack Obama.
The thing I find most troubling about this is that it comes from individuals who are largely devout Christians. I know that many of them are and have been against the presidency of Mr. Obama. And, they are perfectly entitled to hold that opinion. They are also entitled to criticise him and his presidency. But, wishing the death of the President (any president) through a prayer to the god they believe in seems to take things a bit too far, no?
Increasingly, discourse on the social, economic and ,especially, political spheres of life in the US has become so contentious that it is often impossible. Regardless of one’s viewpoints, individuals are apt to demonise and vilify those on opposite sides of their ideological spectrum to the point of not interacting with them at all. This seems so at odds with the principles of free speech and discourse upon which the US Constitution was framed.
As much as I firmly believe in the right of individuals to speak their mind and share their opinions, I do wonder if we have moved into a rhetoric of hatred which leads to things going too far. The recent tragedy in Norway serves as an all-too-real and painful example of how one’s words may influence another individual’s actions.
Perhaps it’s a bit too crunchy or New Age-y, but despite disagreeing vehemently with the policies of President Bush’s administration and some members of the political right currently in office, I have never and would never wish for their death. I’d rather they be removed from public office, and I’ll exercise my right to vote to help get them out.
I can’t say that I wish ill on anyone who disagrees with me, regardless of if that disagreement is based on ideology or personality. I have my opinions and they have theirs. Full stop.
As much as we as Americans hold dear our right to speak our minds, I have to wonder if we as a society would benefit immensely if we tempered our rhetoric so that is it not filled with words of hatred, retribution, death, and despair, but one which looks for mutually agreed upon (or equally offensive) solutions. Just a thought…