"Transcend and include... this is the self-transcending drive of the Kosmos—to go beyond what went before and yet include what went before... to open into the very heart of Spirit-in-action." Ken Wilber, A Brief History of Everything

"Wouldn't it be wonderful if a group of people somewhere were for something and against nothing?" Ernest Holmes

Monday, November 10, 2008

An Open Apology to Conservatives

Arrested for a McCain T shirt
I want to apologize personally to the many conservatives who are frightened by the video of a man arrested on election eve for wearing a McCain T shirt to an Obama celebration in South Philadelphia. I would be frightened too, if I were in your shoes. Even those conservatives who do not buy into the radical version of the Biblical End Times may have raised an eyebrow at this apparent fulfillment of the prophecy that Christians will be arrested as a first step.

If this video were only as it appears to be, it would be a travesty. However, if you watch the longer version it becomes clear that the young man set up the situation intentionally and exacerbated it by wearing a toy dagger protruding from the back of his T shirt. Also note that Philadelphia has a history of street violence such that police had reason to be nervous as crowds filled the streets.

Mutual fear
Nevertheless, this incident is most unfortunate and bespeaks a deeper issue--the fear of each other by many liberals and conservatives. Many postmodern liberals treat conservatives with a disdain that conservatives have every right to be offended by. I know because I was one of those postmoderns (though never with the label of liberal; see Why I am a Recovering Libertarian.) First I lumped all conservatives together--not noticing the huge range in intellectual, ethical, and theological orientation. And then I thought that anyone who took the Bible literally was either ignorant or immature. But when circumstances dropped me into an unusual fundamentalist church, my experience actually living among the fundamentalists for two years changed all that. I came to respect their love and their passionate committment to a better world for all through what they called "The Kingdom of God."

Of course, many of my friends have had very different experiences with orthodox Christian churches. A gentle friend told me yesterday how for her, the fear has lifted for the first time in her life since the election. "It took me several days to feel the full effect as I found myself walking taller," this older woman said. She has spent many years in personal and spiritual growth work learning forgiveness and nonjudgment for her rigid Christian upbringing. I truly believe if she had been there that night, she would have reached out an arm to the young man with the T shirt and invited him to join the party--her and female partner.

What will it take for all of us to move to this kind of reponse to each other?

6 comments:

vickys said...

What will it take? I think it will take what we all already know - that we must be the change we want to see in the world. For me that means sitting with Republicans and listening - not just to their defensive and offensive stands - but listen behind the words. I knew I had made progress when they said it was the first time a Democratic had actually listened to them. I just finished read Ron Suskind's new book- The Way of the World. I knew he helped me make progress when I genuinely felt I understood Bush and Cheney better and could feel old feelings of hate about the war slowly melt away. I was a non-partison pollwatcher last Tuesday - I had lots of practice in being the change... with the emphasis on BEING.
Vicky - an integral educator

luke9.54_56 said...

Why is it I never hear this kind of call going out to those who called Bush a liar, Hitler, and said he is repsonsible for 9-11. Need I remind you what things were said about CHeney, Rumsfeld, Gen. Petraeus, Condi Rice, and so on down the line?
I want to vomit when I hear the nicey nice talk coming from the same side who hated, just days ago. They grab power and all of a sudden, why can't we all get along? If you rediuce this to two little babies, and one grabs the other's toy, you should not tell the one that is upset to stop crying and get along. THAT IS INJUSTICE.
You cannot take away my wealth, my freeedom, and expect me to love you all the while.

I decided I am for the Fairness Doctrine after all. Now that I have eight years of "credit" listening to the left rage on and on about everything, I am ready to call obama a racicst, Hitler, and declare that he is responsible for 9-11.

The left has not given up bothering Sarah Palin. Please direct the cries for a cooperative spirit first to the media, and second, to Hollywood. They are the two worst. Conservatives always cooperate and get along. It is the left that screams, as they are right now in fron of the Intrepid, with their hug signs dishonoring the military on Veterans' day. I see NO RESPSECT OR MORALITY on the left. I refuse those fake morals, perpetrated on us all, in the name of the global warming religion, the islam-loving pantywaists who hide $90,000 in their freezers and never get called to account. The graft on the left is amazing, and it stays in power by keeping the finger pointed at the triflings of Conservatives. The mantras against sarah Palin that are still going on are laughable...Get a life. Let's see you guys lead, prpomote freedom, justice, and the American way of life.

luke9.54_56 said...

i would like to see what it is about Sarah Palin that is so repugnant to the ones who profess to be in harmony with their opponenets.Please tell me what this politician has done so make so much hate come about...

Teri Murphy said...

Hello Sara,

I take it from the tone of your note that you did not accept my apology, and that saddens me--especially since you and I have broken bread together. Perhaps I tried to accomplish too many things in that note, and therefore it felt insincere. If so, I am sorry for that.

As to your reference to attacks on Palin, I agree there was a quality of enthusiastic viciousness to many of them. Can we agree that kind of thing is never helpful?

But most of all Sara, I'm curious as to why you identify yourself with Luke 9:54-56. I think it is a magnificent passage, perhaps the best campaign advice ever written. But it doesnt seem to me to line up with the tone in your remarks. Can you please enlighten us on how you interpret this?

This translation is from the New International Version:
" 51As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them[c]?" 55But Jesus turned and rebuked them, 56and[d] they went to another village."

And because my favorite fundamentalist taught me to compare versions, I want to append this translation of verse 55 from the New American Standard Bible, which I am especially moved by:

But He turned and rebuked them, and said, "You do not know what kind of spirit you are of;"

I can tell you for myself, I find it all to easy to forget what kind of spirit I am of.

Teri Murphy said...

Another Apology!!!!

Yikes, Sara, I broke my own rule by responding to you before I read your comment at least twice. And thus, I failed to provide much evidence in my prior post that I heard you. Please permit me to try again.

You said:
>Why is it I never hear this kind of call going out to those who called Bush a liar, Hitler, and said he is repsonsible for 9-11. Need I remind you what things were said about CHeney, Rumsfeld, Gen. Petraeus, Condi Rice, and so on down the line?<

I agree with you. Terrible, disrespectful things were said about Republican leaders.

>I want to vomit when I hear the nicey nice talk coming from the same side who hated, just days ago. They grab power and all of a sudden, why can't we all get along? If you rediuce this to two little babies, and one grabs the other's toy, you should not tell the one that is upset to stop crying and get along. THAT IS INJUSTICE. You cannot take away my wealth, my freeedom, and expect me to love you all the while.<

I agree with you that the situation you describe is manipulative and unjust. And I understand why you feel that your wealth and freedom are threatened. But I don't understand your use of the word "grab" power. Do you feel the election was not won legally?

>I decided I am for the Fairness Doctrine after all. Now that I have eight years of "credit" listening to the left rage on and on about everything, I am ready to call obama a racicst, Hitler, and declare that he is responsible for 9-11.<

Your phrasing here made me go into reaction, so I didn't really hear the point behind it the first time I read it. Yes, I can see why you feel the media is biased for the left, and thus I see how you could make a case that "fairness" should permit you to get even. But I think I know you well enough, Sara, to know that getting even is not your idea of fairness when you're in a calmer mood. If in fact you had full control of the media, you'd print something much more constructive, right?

>The left has not given up bothering Sarah Palin. Please direct the cries for a cooperative spirit first to the media, and second, to Hollywood. They are the two worst. <

Actually, Sara, that is one of the things I'm trying to do with this blog and with my book--provide a fresh perspective to those who believe that all conservatives are immature, stupid, insane, or evil.

And I'd welcome your help.

FUBARFlight said...

I get a "OK, Let's sit down with the devils, and pretend to understand them, poor things." from you. Yes, I'm conservative, and libertarian, but the PRESS appears so evil and, I think, a huge influence on the polity we're adopting, that it angers, scares, and saddens me.

I am wary of wildly popular wo/men; too many are charlatans. So far, BHO talks savior, but his actions shout charlatan.