Greetings. I am a member of the Liberal Left in the United States, and I think the time has come for me to say a few things to you.
First, I think it is important to let you know who I am. I am young, well-educated, and female. I am a mother, a wife, and a professional. I am a member of my neighborhood association. I vote in local, state and national elections. I am well informed, and follow both the mainstream and alternative media. I attend church regularly (Unitarian Universalist) because I value the community and the values of social justice it supports. I am a home owner, a taxpayer, and an engaged citizen.
Secondly, I do not hate you, nor do I want to be your enemy. I believe you have a right to believe whatever you wish, and practice your religion free from governmental interference, so long as that practice does not cause harm to others. If I saw you stopped on the side of the road, I would stop to help change your tire, regardless of the bumper stickers you displayed on your vehicle. If I saw your child being bullied or mocked, I would rush to her defense. I would offer to share my umbrella with you if we were caught in the rain. You are my neighbor, and I am yours. Our children play together, we are coworkers, and sometimes, we are friends. I value your contributions to our community.
I am concerned, because I hear a lot of rhetoric being used by your leadership that marginalizes and demeans me. I hear disturbing talk about raising an "Army of God" to fight against "Godless liberals and secularists". I hear your leaders talking about packing the Supreme Court with justices who will impose your beliefs and morality on all Americans. I hear you calling this a "Christian Nation", even though you know many of your neighbors are not Christian. I hear your leaders urging you to oppose me at every turn, though I offer no specific threat to you or your beliefs.
I believe that all Americans deserve equal rights and equal opportunity. I support a woman's right to abortion because I support the bodily integrity of all citizens. If you do not believe in abortion, it is your right to say so, and to not have an abortion, but it is not your right to keep others from having or providing abortions. I support the right to gay marriage, because I believe all people should be free to love whom they wish, and should enjoy the same legal protections under law. If you are against homosexuality on principal, you have the right to say that, and to reject homosexuality as your lifestyle, but you do not have the right to dictate that others should, too. I believe that all people, regardless of race, sex, or orientation deserve to have an equal right to education and jobs. I believe that people have a right to health insurance that is not predicated on their employment, and I believe that everyone deserves a helping hand when times get tough. I believe that we must deal compassionately and fairly with people who seek a new life in our country, addressing the root causes of their exodus if possible. I believe the government plays a role in facilitating these things. You may disagree with me, or propose other solutions to these problems, but you do not have the right to malign the names of certain people or groups as a tactic to switch blame for or attention from problems. I support a strong division between church and state as a bulwark against tyrannical and theocratic rule. You may disagree with me on which, if any religion is "right" or "wrong", but you do not have the right to impose your religion on me.
I reject the war on terror, both because of the way it is being conducted, and the indiscriminate nature of its targets. I believe the right of this country to protect itself must be balanced against the rights of individuals. Guantanamo Bay, rendition, the Patriot Act, recent amendments to FISA, the disregarding of the Geneva Convention, and the attack and subsequent occupation of Iraq are inappropriate means to fight terror that place all of our freedoms in jeopardy. The demonization and the singling out of Muslims is an inappropriate and short-sighted solution to terror. I support strategies of engagement with other countries and the world community, because the current policies of hegemonic domination support the subjugation of other peoples, which is an ethical bad in itself, and an engine for ill will towards America.
As I said before, I don't want to be your enemy. I don't want to keep you from believing what you believe, or living how you wish to live. If you force me to, however, I will stand in unwavering defense of what I believe is right. I will point out the inconsistencies of your arguments. I will oppose your chosen politicians. I will move to counter your actions at all levels of government. If you choose to use your religion as justification for your actions, I will attack it mercilessly, too. In short, I will not let you take away my rights or co-opt the integrity of this country in the name of your God.
I believe we can live in peace and harmony. I hope that we can sit down and discuss our differences rationally. I hope we can continue to be good neighbors to one another. This is a big country, with a proud tradition of coexistence of diverse groups. There is room enough for all of us, if we stop trying to push the other out.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Posted by Kitty at 11:46 AM