I know the election has been over for a whole week now, but I just ran across this article by my favorite New Orleans columnist, Chris Rose. What he says is articulate and gracious and I wanted to share it with anyone who might listen.
I am a liberal.
There. I said it.
And I am a conservative.
There. I said that, too.
I apologize for any offense caused by my use of these two most profane, insulting and debasing words. But on the eve of this historic presidential election, I believe we must face with raw, unfiltered language the issues that divide us.
There's no getting around it: The C-word and the L-word are at the root of our nation's Great Divide. Together they are the elephant in the room and we need to wrestle it to the ground before we all end up looking like asses and, yes, puns intended.
So I'll say it again: I am a liberal.
I don't hate America. And I don't hate conservatives. Some of my best friends are conservatives.
I am tolerant. I believe that people are inherently good. I believe in free markets and personal responsibility.
I believe you can do, say, buy, sell, think and believe just about anything you want as long as it doesn't endanger me or anyone else. That, after all, is the fundamental tenet of liberalism.
I believe that government's role in our lives is to ensure all individuals, regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation, access to the Declaration of Independence's promise of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
I don't think your traditional family values are any more traditional or valuable than mine.
I think religion and politics are a bad mix. I believe ministers should focus on matters of salvation, charity and public service -- not taxes, endorsements and my sex life.
I believe in science. I believe that faith is just that. Your God is not better than my God. I do not believe that Jonah spent three days inside of a whale. I do not believe that I will burn in hell for not believing this.
I believe in prayer. But I don't think God talks to people. When clerics, ministers and preachers say he talks to them, I think they are lying. Or hearing things.
I don't really have a problem with the mainstream media other than it's too conservative. I don't think Fox News is fair or balanced. In fact, I think Fox News is the mainstream media.
I believe we need to wean ourselves off foreign oil and fossil fuels and fast.
I believe that I should be able to read whatever book, watch whatever movie and listen to whatever music I want. I don't believe I should have to listen to your music, though, so turn it down please.
I believe in taxes. I believe the more you make, the more you should pay.
I believe marriage is a civil union and that no one should be denied their civil rights. I believe the only homosexual agenda is that which encourages men to dress sharp, listen to more music by divas and take better care of their skin.
I think flag-burning laws are distractions from real issues and a violation of the First Amendment. If burning a flag is the only way you think you can make your point, then have at it. Just be careful, please.
I think Barack Obama is a great man and a great American. I just might vote for him. Except that .¤.¤.
I am a conservative.
I love my country.
Some of my best friends are liberals.
I believe in free markets and personal responsibility. I believe you can do, say, buy, sell, think and believe just about anything you want, as long as it doesn't endanger me or anyone else. That, after all, is the fundamental tenet of conservatism.
I am a Christian. I don't think that word is synonymous with "conservative." Many politicians and preachers have tried to link the two for their own personal gain and that pisses me off.
I believe the Bible and the Constitution are the two greatest documents ever written. I sometimes cry when I hear the national anthem. I believe the 10 Commandments just about says it all.
I think religion is as important as any other subject and should be taught in public schools. After all, I can't recall a single instance in which two countries waged war because of their differing views on algebra.
I believe all young adults should be required to spend one year in the military or in public service. I thank soldiers and police officers for what they do every chance I get. If I owned a diner, I would give them all free coffee whenever they wanted it.
I believe I should be able to own a gun if I want one.
I believe in freedom of association but I don't believe I should have to associate with anyone I don't want to be with. So don't make me.
I believe in state's rights, a balanced budget and term limits. I don't believe in welfare. If you want money, work for it. Somehow, some way, earn your keep. And I believe we should drill, baby, drill.
I don't believe our prisons are overcrowded. Actually, I don't think there are enough people in them. I reject the notion of rehabilitating recidivist criminals. I say, lock 'em up.
If my religion says that marriage exists only between one man and one woman, so be it. If you disagree, find another religion.
If I saw you burning an American flag, in all likelihood, I would try to hurt you.
I think John McCain is a great man and a great American. I just might vote for him, because I am a conservative.
Except that I am also a liberal.
And I am your neighbor, your ally and your fellow American -- like it or not. I will fight to defend your right to your beliefs. And I'd appreciate it if you'd do the same for me.
I don't care if your great grandfather owned slaves or was one. Neither speaks to your own character.
We are of the same blood, the same family, the same great nation -- a nation crippled by false prophets and phony distinctions. Our cultural divide was created not by the hands of God -- neither by your hands and mine -- but by the forces of political expedience.
Keep this in mind: God is not a registered voter. But I am. And I am not your enemy.
So, please: For the love of country: Stop calling me names.
Both of you.