Thursday, July 26, 2012


I don't do politics. I don't take stands. I pretty much float by on what I catch from headlines that I see on the internet.

Occasionally, something will really catch my attention and I'll read a real article thoroughly and I'll sit and think about it for a few seconds. But in this ADHD society, those serious thoughts tend to float away as soon as I catch sight of a butterfly outside my window.

Over the last day or so I've seen a lot of talk in the social media outlets about this hubbub over Chick-Fil-A and their conservative views versus the LGBT community. I don't know all the details. Frankly, from what I've seen, I'd be surprised if any one person in this country actually does have all the details. And I've wanted keep my opinions about this to myself because that's what I do.

When I say I don't take stands, it's not because I don't actually take a stand on certain issues. I just tend to keep those things to myself. My thoughts and feelings on our country's current political climate are my own. They're private and they're personal. Now, if you know me, then there's a good chance you know where I stand on a lot of issues that plague our nation. If you don't, you can keep guessing, because I'm not going to hash them out here.

What does bother me, and what I will stand against, is the obvious hatred that each side seems to have for the other because they have different beliefs.

You can come back at me and tell me that this isn't about one side hating the other all you want. I won't buy it for a second. If it simply takes one person to make a statement about their personal beliefs to enrage an entire community, there's a problem. And when the people who support that one person's statement become equally enraged in response to a community's rage, the problem only grows.

I hate politics. I hate the polarizing effect that so many issues have on our population. But I love America. I love that this is a country that was founded on the idea that each and every one of us is free. Remember how the Declaration of Independence says that we're entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? These are our God given rights as human beings.

I love the movie The American President. I think that Andrew Shepherd's speech at the end ranks right up there with Bill Pullman's speech in Independence Day. In it, he talks about flag burning. If you haven't seen it, one of the plot points is that President Shepherd's political opponent attacks Shepherd's girlfriend with a picture of her at a protest where an American flag was burned. Shepherd states, "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can't just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest."

Don't get me wrong. I love the stars and stripes. I can't wait to see it lifted above a bunch of other flags next week when the US walks away with gold medals over and over again. But there is freedom in loving that symbol. And there is freedom in hating it as well.

American citizens are free to choose what they want to believe. If they want to believe in God, they have that right. If they want to believe that alien overlords provided human beings with fire, they have that right. If they want to vote for a Republican in November, they have that right. If they want to vote for a Democrat, they have that right. If they want to sit at home and do nothing on Election Day, that's their right too.

If your fellow American wants to stand beside you and believe what you believe, do you have a problem with that? Then why should you have a problem when someone stands against you to express an opposing opinion? Remember that the Constitution defends their rights, just as easily as it defends yours. We need to try and remember that before we simply decide to hate each other for living out our inalienable right to live freely and pursue happiness.

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