Recently, I have been engaged in a rabid debate with a Tea Party adherent. I say rabid debate, as opposed to enlightened discussion, because that is what it has been of late–a debate and wholly rabid to the point of willful ignorance. Many who speak with me understand that I have developed strong political ideals. But, what most may not realize is that a mere five years ago I was a different person with different ideas about politics. Some of my friends claim that I have been brainwashed or hoodwinked into believing ideologies that I once spurned. This is not true on any level. I have not been hoodwinked. I have not been brainwashed. I have simply become more educated.
More educated? What does this mean? Well, it means that I have come to see the world differently, have come to understand the citizenry of this country differently, and have come to expect more from our lackluster government. Had the Tea Party existed five years ago I would have probably joined them and being enamored by the ideals they espouse. However, I am not the same person I was five years ago.
I have been accused by friends, acquaintances, and strangers alike that I am a socialist liberal nut-job, unpatriotic, traitorous, politically retarded, elitist, intellectually dishonest, and pathetic. All of these I have been accused of by Tea Partiers.
And, for what? For simply disagreeing, for simply having a different world view, and for simply being American. But, for Tea Partiers, it isn’t enough to simply be American, you have to be their type of American. I am not their type of American; therefore, I am a traitor and worthy of pity.
This type of willful ignorance is rampant among the Tea Party. Disagree with me? Fine! Debate with me? Great! But, when Tea Partiers cannot stand debate or discussion anymore because their argument is built upon quicksand, they attack the integrity of their opponent. I will entertain debate and discussion, but I will not entertain those who attack my ethics or integrity. These are two of the most important principles of my life. I pride myself on having impeccable ethics and strong integrity.
It is disheartening when someone attacks that which is eternal. This is all the Tea Party does. They personally attack those who disagree, those who will debate them, and those who would presume to suggest a different way of thinking.
I am more liberal now in my political and social views than ever before. I am not ashamed of it. I am proud of it.
So, what of it?