Thursday, July 02, 2015

Conservatives and Personal Freedom

As a content co-ordinator for a non-partisan political information site, I am confronted all the time with rhetoric that I find on candidates' websites. Some of that rhetoric makes me very angry. I am responding now to what I've been finding on the websites of any number of Republican candidates: The ardent claims that “traditional marriage” is “bedrock of society” and that "protecting it" from being extended to include such “threats” as gay marriage reflects “religious freedom” and “American values”.

I ask these Republicans: Have you ever read the Bible? Because I have, and most people in the Bible did not have a “traditional marriage.” They were either single, as were Paul and most of the prophets, or they were sleeping with any number of women, as were Abraham, David and Solomon. Which makes most people in the Bible terrible sinners according to the logic of these Republicans.

For decades Republicans have been claiming themselves to be a party of small government. A small government is not a government that tells people what lifestyle they have to lead. Nobody is preventing people who want to have a “traditional marriage” from doing so. The problem is that many of the people who are into “traditional marriage” want to deny people the right to live any other way. And that is a supreme violation of liberty.

Liberty that the Republicans claim to protect; that they claim to believe in; and that they aggressively deny to everybody else.

The essence of liberty is choice. Particularly, it is being able to choose the lifestyle that one wishes to live. This means both for those people who want a “traditional” lifestyle and for the people who want to live one or another lifestyle alternative. A person who truly values liberty will understand this, and he will respect this. There is no excuse for those in feminism who want to deny people the right to a “traditional” family; that's just another form of control and intolerance. But there is also no excuse for conservatives denying other people the right to choose a way of life other than theirs.

As a man, and a father, whose wife has left me to be with another man, I would be expected to take the side of social conservatives. I do not. When she left me, I did not try to kill her or her new love interest; I did not try to take away from her my daughter; indeed I did not even wish upon either of them any kind of ill. They are both good people, and I have maintained a good friendship with both of them. My daughter has the complete attention from both her mother and her father. I say that this is possible, and that other men in similar situations should take the same path as I did.

If I can do this, then they can as well.

And them doing so – being able to rise above jealousy and possessiveness and respect and value true freedom, which is the freedom for people to choose their lifestyle - will make a better America and a better world.

Kenneth Starr, who in 1998 unleashed a storm of vicious abuse against President Clinton, said recently that, if he were to meet Bill Clinton now, he would apologize. This is being a true gentleman; indeed this is true integrity. This is what Christianity is meant to be about.

Not attacking single mothers; not attacking gays; not attacking people who are childless.

For many years conservatives have been claiming that they want people to not infringe on their lifestyle or make them pay for theirs. This is a two-way street. Having lived in the San Francisco area, and made good money in the computer industry at the time, I know just to what extent the conservatives infringe upon other lifestyles than theirs. Most homosexuals work, as do most childless people, as do many single mothers. Most of the above do not infringe upon anyone either. Yet all of the above are under constant attack from conservatives.

Ted Cruz said that there is no place for gays and atheists in “his” America, and that “the Constitution makes this clear.” “His” America? What about the other 300 million people who live in America? The recent electoral results have shown that Far Right, although it may think itself to be an American majority, is in fact an American minority. And no, they have not “built America.” 300 million people living now – and many millions who have lived in the past – have.

These included any number of people who are nothing like Ted Cruz or those who vote for him. It includes the Chinese, who built American railroads; the blacks, who staffed its plantations; the Jews and the atheists, who dominate its science and innovation and have a strong presence in finance, business, media and entertainment; and the Hindus and the minority religions in the computer industry. America owes vastly to all of the above. It is time that more people stand up on behalf of these great contributors to America and defeat the voices of conmanship and deception, from Ted Cruz to Rush Limbaugh to Alex Jones.

To Ted Cruz: No, you are not America. You may be a part of America, but you have no business claiming America to be yours. California is not yours. New York is not yours. New England is not yours. And, as we have seen in recent electoral results, neither does appear to be the majority of the American population.

Ted Cruz is rightfully attacking ISIS for forcing upon people in Middle East its radical interpretation of Islam. But he is doing the exact same thing: Forcing upon people in America his radical interpretation of Christianity. He is not only attacking atheists and gays; he is also attacking the more tolerant people within Christianity – tolerance which, incidentally, is demanded by Jesus. He is not a conservative. He is a radical. And the people who rail against radicals have no business being radicals themselves.

I ask this: What is the logical outcome of believing yourself, and nobody else, to be America? The logical outcome is this: Forcing your way upon the rest of America. If you think that America is yours, you will run roughshod over everyone else who lives in America. And if you think that you speak for God, then you will run roughshod over everyone else, period. This is what ISIS is trying to do; and, it appears, it is in this not alone.

I have absolutely nothing against the people who want to live the “traditional” lifestyle. It is their absolute right. But likewise a right it is for people who want to live a non-”traditional” lifestyle. Both the conservatives, who want everyone to live the “traditional” lifestyle, and those in feminism who see the “patriarchial” lifestyle as evil, are in the wrong. Liberty means liberty. And that means the right for those who want to live the “traditional” lifestyle to do so – and for people who don't want it to be doing something else.

Much is being decided at the political level right now, and the same people who used to have no interest in politics are taking interest in it, because important issues are at hand. These issues are important enough to merit honest analysis. A political force that thinks that it is America and nobody else is can only be a force for tyranny and oppression. And it is high time that the rest of America speak up and tell them that they do not speak for it.


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