Cheap Seats 2021
Rising Above - 01/27
By Rich Trzupek
As a Christian I believe this to be true: love is holy. When Christ enjoined his followers to love their enemies, He was advocating an all-encompassing, world-changing philosophy, for the term “enemies” covers a lot of ground. It surely includes people who want you dead – the most easily understood enemy of all – but it also includes people who are working for different goals than you and people working toward the same goals in ways you believe are misguided and counterproductive.
The last and most subtle distinction is of the greatest import today as this great nation enters a brand new phase with new leaders. We may generically describe the three types of enmity people have for each other as: 1) drop dead evil one; 2) shut the hell up elitist; and 3) you’re an idiot and nobody should pay attention to you.
I think it’s fairly obvious that the vast majority of Americans who inhabit any portion of the current political spectrum do not want to actually exterminate those on the other side. There will always be a few on the left and a few on the right who wish to do so, but in both cases that is a mind-numbingly, simplistic, straw-man fueled point of view that deserves no further consideration.
Enmity category 2 is more nuanced. In this case each side concedes that the other has the best interests of the populace at heart, but each argues that the other side is misguided in its policies. For example, both Republicans and Democrats acknowledge that powerful totalitarian states are the greatest global threat to peace, prosperity and tranquility today. Over the past four years, Democrats have targeted Putin’s Russia as the free world’s most important and powerful enemy, while most Republicans have tagged Communist China instead.
Enmity category 3 is the subtlest of all. For example, conservatives believe the surest way out of poverty is ensuring equal opportunity in free market system, while liberals believe redistribution of wealth is required to address the inequities of the free market system. Conservatives believe that government managed redistribution of wealth exacerbates poverty, while liberals believe that the free-market system exploits the poor to the benefit of the rich.
I firmly believe that the vast majority of ordinary people who disagree with each other politically fall into category 3 and do so sincerely. As much as I despise the PR/messaging types who dominate both parties and the mainstream media (looking at you Jeff Zucker), those cynical string-pullers don’t represent anywhere close to the majority of voters on either side.
I have liberal friends and liberal relatives. I do not demonize them, I simply disagree with them. So I ask this of you my fellow conservatives and Christians: While we will surely see the Biden administration and Democrat Congress make many a decision we disagree with, don’t forget to love your neighbor, even if that neighbor supports policies you disagree with. Deplore the action, not the person.
Do know that I practice what I preach my friends. I have regularly received hate mail throughout my tenure with the mighty Examiner. While I occasionally get a reasoned response from somebody on the left, most of it is vile stuff, full of personal insults and ad hominem attacks. I very rarely respond to such correspondents and when I do, I always respond with kindness.
No doubt liberal columnists in other papers get the same sort of hate mail from readers on the right. Self-righteous anger infects all sides. While there is no eliminating it, my message to you readers who are of a like mind and purpose is don’t be part of it. Rising above it speaks volumes.