Yeah. Like I said, all of you here know that while I may not be a big fan of abortion, I am essentially pro-choice, and I thought Bush's ban on federal stem-cell research was pure politics, and very little science. Like I said, my profile says that I am proudly liberal, so I was a bit surprised to get this invite from this old high school (and church) friend.
But no big deal. I declined the invite and then sent him a short (and nice) note telling him that I certainly didn't mind the invitation, but I was no longer a conservative, and had in fact supported Obama during the campaign. Trust me. I was nice.
And the response? Nothing.
While being spammed with right wing stuff didn't bother me, the lack of polite response bothered me a lot. Frankly, it pissed me off. I have been very close to firing off another email and not being as nice this time. Talking through it with SOF, however, I realized that she was probably right (duh) that this guy was not the real target of my ire. I have had this happen before, however, and the wounds are rather deep. Friends from the past, and even some of my relatives (more distant) have reconnected with me in the last 15 years, but when they discovered that I was *gasp* a "liberal" they just stopped talking to me. One sent me an email riling up support for the beleaguered Boy Scouts in their battle with the gays. I wrote back and said, "you do remember that I am your liberal relative, right?" His response? "I didn't think you were that liberal." And that was the end of that email exchange. Not sure I have heard from him since.
I don't mind people disagreeing with me, but I do sorely object to being treated as some kind of pariah or defect. Those wounds are still a little painful, and have not helped my view of conservative Christianity. I am grateful for those family (my parents and nieces and nephews, in particular) who have kept in relationship with me despite political and theological differences, and I have a few friends (really just one) from the old days who have done so as well. But those who have dropped me really have some answering to do about their faith and how their faith asks them to treat others.
Anyway. Long story, but one I needed to get out. I have not responded to this latest one, but am still considering a less angry and more inquisitive version of the "take off" email I initially drafted in my head. (Actually, it wasn't "take" in my head!) He certainly doesn't need to to pay for those old debts, and perhaps no one can.
One more item, not necessarily related, but I saw this from George Packer at the New Yorker that reiterates what I have been arguing about radicals on the right v. radicals on the left.
Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck have far more power in the Republican Party (it sometimes seems to include veto power) than Klein, Lee, and Moore have in the Democratic Party. The views of right-wing commentators in the grip of the paranoid style (Obama is a stealth radical, the Democrats are imposing socialism) are much closer to mainstream conservative and Republican belief than the views of their counterparts on the left (the levees in New Orleans were blown up by the government, the White House had something to do with 9/11) are to mainstream liberal and Democratic belief. The reasons are complex, but I would list these: the evangelical and occasionally messianic fervor that animates a part of the Republican base; the atmosphere of siege and the self-identification of conservatives as insurgents even when they monopolized political power; the influence of ideology over movement conservatives, and their deep hostility to compromise; the fact that modern conservatism has been a movement, which modern liberalism has not.Perhaps I have run headlong into that "deep hostility to compromise" in my own life too much. :)
This is not to say that the more destructive forms of populism and outright paranoia can’t appear on the left. They have, they do, and they will, especially in times of extreme distress like these. It’s only to say that the infection has been more organic to the modern right.
Anyway. It is a little (emphasize little) snowy here in Norman, and a perfect day for my latest experiment in sourdough bread. Hope you are all well.