Thursday, March 1, 2012

All Aboard

This is why I don't ride anyone's hate trains.

Normally I don't send or forward a lot of these, but even by my standards, it was a bit touching. I want all of my friends to feel what I felt when I read this. Hope it touches your heart like it did mine.

A little boy said to his mother; 'Mommy, how come I'm black and you're white?' His mother replied, 'Don't even go there Barack! From what I can remember about that party, you're lucky you don't bark!'
The Honorable Richard Cebull, chief U.S. district judge for Montana
When you find it "touching" to slander the dead to mock the living, I don't think that just saying that you're "not a fan" of the President comes anywhere near the truth; "but this goes beyond not being a fan" should win prizes for understatement from far and wide. It takes real emotion, actual feeling, to cloud one's judgement to this level. While Judge Cebull may have honestly believed that this e-mail would never have gone beyond his circle of fellow "non-fans," the simple fact he didn't come to the realization that he was effectively cosigning a mean-spirited slut joke about the President's mother demonstrates to me how the animosity that become such a large part of American politics is destroying our brains.

It's easy to lay this sort of thing at the feet of the right. They're worked long and hard to claim the best seats on this hate train for themselves. But four years ago, it was the political left who were the most vocal about letting their emotions get the better of them. It's always easier to emote than to think. To convince ourselves that the gut reactions that our feelings inspire speak to a deeper truth about the targets of our emotions - and say nothing about ourselves.

We are quick to cast ourselves as puppets of the more powerful - the forces that "make" us feel things. We wrap ourselves in a mantle of victimhood, controlled by outside forces that rob us of our better natures. It justifies not only our anger and bitterness, but our willingness to transgress on others in ways that we claim to find completely unacceptable. And our willingness to keep silent or even rush to the defense when people we want to see as allies take the very actions we decry in our adversaries.

As Americans, we have been brought up to be sensitive to the other in our midst, and to hound them mercilessly. For our entire history, we have shown a willingness to turn on one another, and do react with howls of outrage when confronted with it. But confront it we must, or it will be our end. For there are never pleasant destinations at the ends of hate trains.

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