Here is the medicine I, and others of my ilk, will have to swallow. We, who lean to the left are a bunch of self-righteous do-gooders. And that’s okay, as long as we acknowledge it.
The other day I wrote a column on the Arrogance of the Right. And, believe me, they are. Then I began to see people sprouting up all over taking on Chick fil-a. The company’s owner, a devout Christian is firmly against same-sex marriage, among other things. And he and his company have been lambasted in the media by people who have called him vile names and threatened to keep him out of certain cities.
And that too is okay, except for the cities getting involved. I have already written on that. It is not their business. It starts to violate the First Amendment when a governmental body exercises the editorial power of free speech. Not a good thing for either side.
But as I watched the arguments grow, I realized the left gave no room for debate. (To be sure, the right never does, but the whole point of the left is we are supposed to. That is part of being liberal. To be open to other views. To discuss and to think. We don’t have to accept them, but we do have to acknowledge them.)
So let us – those of us who stand left of center – raise our hands and say, “We are self-righteous. We admit it and we’ll work on it.” To be sure, waging a boycott on a Chicken Man is no big deal. He deserves it. But we have to also allow for him to hold to his beliefs. He has that right. In the arguments that flow out of a society that is dancing around many hot topics, let us never lose sight that in America, the other guy is entitled to his beliefs, so long as they do not cross the law endangering others.
It is tough. Hard to stomach at times. I even cringe when the ACLU defends Nazis when they fight to uphold their constitutional rights to meet, to parade and to be down right obnoxious. But the ACLU understands that if you take those rights away from the Skinheads, the Nazis, the Klu Klux Klan and others, you also run the risk of taking it away from you and me.
Sleep on that. It will have you tossing and turning, I promise you.
This democracy thing is not easy. It is not Sarah Plain and Glenn Beck black and white. It never is and it never was and out founding fathers knew that. Remember, over a third of the people in the colonies supported King George. They knew consensus is hard to build. But protecting the right to build it, protecting the right to air ideas about building it– the very core of our freedoms – that is crucial to our democratic way of life.
Go ahead throw verbal rocks. You have that right. (As long as they are verbal. You have the right to hold any idea in your head and to express it with free speech…nothing guarantees you the right to throw real rocks.) Throw your verbal assaults at people you disagree with – but allow them – for you must in our system – the right to shout back at you with their own ideas. Call it give and take.
Or call it America.