Elaine sent me something else by e-mail that struck a nerve that has been repeatedly assaulted over the course of my adult life. Here is the link she sent to a blog identifying Senator Obama as 'Senator Infanticide." Unfortunately 'true believers' on any side of any issue like to demonize anyone who disagrees with them. I like mannered and civilized discussions and debates but have found them in very short supply. The first time I became aware of this kind of assault on my sensibilities came in the mid 1970s not long after the Roe v Wade decision was handed down. A young woman I knew slightly from one of my classes sat with me in the food court and argued with me over the decision. She insisted that we had to do everything in our power to prevent the 'murder' of innocent babies. When I told her that I did not consider it my moral duty to interfere in someone else's moral decisions, she claimed that I was as guilty of moral turpitude as anyone who decided to have an abortion. The essence of a moral decision is the right to choose according to your own spiritual compass what course of action to take. I refuse now, as I did then, to assume guilt or responsibility for anyone who chooses moral options I may or may not agree with. I resent mightily anyone who thinks that they have the right to exercise their right to choose a moral path by restricting my right to choose a different path. I have also been totally amazed by how right-to-life groups restrict that right. They are often equally vehement supporters of the right of babies to be born and the death penalty.
Unfortunately, I have noticed over the years a phenomenal explosion of moral Nazi's in our society. And they all, like Don Quixote's daughter in the musical 'Man of La Mancha,' are only acting for somebody else's good. Frankly, I wish more of them would remember Christ telling his followers that we should pay more attention to the beams in our own eyes rather than the motes in our brothers' or sisters' eyes. We should concentrate on our own moral perfection before we criticize others.
And perhaps we should be more humble with criticism. One of Mom's correspondents sent her an e-mail attachment that was interesting. It was a film clip of a singer introducing her new song and telling the story of what made her write it. Her brother, a career Marine, sent her a bumper sticker--a red circle with U.S. Marines printed in the middle. As she was driving home through one of the high priced neighborhoods a woman saw the decal and gave the middle finger salute. The point of the song--the woman commented on what she assumed were the singer's attitudes and values were without making any effort to find out what they in fact were. I remember asking a very simple question when all of those pretty yellow ribbon decals came out seven years ago telling everyone to 'support our troops.' "What do you mean when you tell us to support the troops?" If support meant unquestioningly supporting the policies that put them in harm's way--NO WAY. I respect those who serve and their reasons for serving even when they think, as I do not, that they are protecting our country from serious danger or that some greater good will come of their service. I think that the policies of the Bush Administration are far more dangerous and have done far more damage to our country than Al Qaeda or Saddam Husein's Iraq has. I have seen an increasing tendency to view the world in terms of black and white coupled along with an increasing tendency for our leaders to demand that we put our moral sense in neutral and blindly support them in all things. That is not citizenship; that is servility.