America the Brave or America the Backwards?

Before I start this rant, I just want to make a small disclaimer. I’m not a political analyst, I don’t know all the facts. However, I am an American and I do have the first amendment to back up what I’m about to say.

Some things transpired this weekend that have brought myself to question the my American sense of pride and justice. When I think of America, I think of a country that embraces differences, allows for a variety of opinions, and above all the freedom to be whom ever you would like to be. However, we’re also a country that believes in justice, doing the right thing, and holding those accountable for their actions.

This weekend, as the election drew nearer each day, Republicans were becoming more and more defensive of their position, as were Democrats, I know I said some very shrewd things about Palin in the last few days. In any rate, this sets the stage for what I’m about to share with you.

I am sitting at a table of new acquaintances, all good hard working, delightful people, celebrating a birthday, a definitely enjoyable occasion. As I sit there, comments about the election are discussed, and soon I realize I’m the only Democrat at the table. But why should I be concerned about that? They have a right to their own opinion, especially considering some of them have considered way more factors than I have regarding their decisions. Initially I was intrigued, I wanted to know what had changed their viewpoint to the other side, did they feel differently about some hot topic? But then a experience happened that I thought was below everything I know about good Americans.

The man of the hour pulls out a card that he’s received for this birthday, as he looks at the front he chuckles slightly. I’m a fan of humorous birthday cards, so I’m excited to see what has him grinning. He holds it up for everyone to see. It’s a card with Obama’s face on it, someone has drawn a noose around his neck, devil horns on his forehead, fire behind him, and a large, red swastika on his forehead.

The table roars in laughter. He hands the card around the table and each person gets a chance to have their own private chuckle as they review the handy work.

I’m simply stunned. I sit at the table, quiet, just watching the macabre of laughing faces. How could this be funny? How can I live in a country, so beautiful, so embracing of different opinions, and so just and honorable to be seeing this? Sure, they’re entitled to think that Obama isn’t the best choice for President, I can respect that. But to equate a man who wants to help and serve this country to the devil, to make a racist statement that he should be hung with a swastika carved in his forehead, how is this right and just? Sure this country has it’s problems, it’s dark side, it was not long ago that racism was a way of the public and not in hiding corners. Perhaps it was simply a joke, meant to be funny. But I would think in this day in age, these good, hard working, people would know in their hearts they had gone too far. It saddens me to see that mainstream society still accepts these items as acceptable ways of voicing their disagreement.

Honestly, I’m a bit upset by myself. For not standing up, for not saying something. I feel as if I’ve done my own dishonor to my homeland to sit there idle and not say anything to my fellow Americans. So, instead of letting this occurance go silently into the darkest corners of my memory without notice, I’m sharing it all with you. I hope that it shocks your system as much as it did mine, regardless of party, regardless of race. If it doesn’t, God help this nation.

3 Comments to “America the Brave or America the Backwards?”

  • let it be known that my jaw dropped.

    wow. that’s … uh. not really funny at all.

    i don’t even know what to say to that. God help this nation, indeed.
    i hope Obama really can help to heal some of the hate.

    when i watch Obama talk, i feel hope for the first time in a long time.
    maybe Americans can finally feel safe again
    can we be kind to strangers instead of being afraid of them?
    can we all get along well enough to work together to improve things?

    it used to be that Democrats and Republicans would debate by day, and be friendly by night
    there’s so much hate, now. arrogance. ignorance. stubbornness. on both sides of the aisle.

    we need to start to heal this divide and work *together*

    God help this nation, indeed.

  • I’m a Republican, but I really would hope that if I was at that party, I would have said something. Racism and facism simply don’t belong in our society.

    I often struggle at extended family get-togethers, where I have aunts and uncles that are blatantly racist. It bothers me, but given their ages, I know there is no hope for them. They are who they are, even if I don’t agree with them.

    And I wouldn’t beat yourself up about not speaking out at the time. In a setting where you are a minority, such as this, that’s extremely difficult to do. That why I said I would HOPE I would speak up. I can’t say for certain I would, though I’m reasonably certain if I didn’t I would feel exactly as you describe now.

  • Hindsight is 20/20. The actions you take the rest of your life based on your realization will far eclipse the action you didn’t take that day.

    I’m really struggling this week- its been shocking to learn how many people I know here who seem completely social, intelligent and humanistic, but are ardent Bush supporters, who are homophobic (and aren’t even aware of it… they just see it as protecting their rights, rather than denying anyone else-they don’t get that its hate).

    I wonder.. what do I do with those people? By tolerating hate, do we allow it? Then I think… aren’t we asking them to tolerate another view, to allow it? Its incredibly tough to respect people you don’t agree with, but we have to. As long as they respect you back. What your friends did wasn’t respectful. Instead of simply saying we don’t agree with a candidate, we demonize them. The truth is that Palin isn’t evil, McCain isn’t a moron, and the country would not have ended if they won (though I think it would have been a very dark time for a long while). We just disagree with their processes and opinions.

    What are we doing wrong that no one can just talk anymore… debate, without becoming violent and angry?

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This little blog happens to be the personal ramblings of one April Holle - I'm female, outspoken, webbie, a community evangelist, and Principal of Made Better Studio. Check out the about section for more info.

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