“When the volatile political bedfellows of money and religion discover the honeymoon is over, the break-up will affect all of us. When this relationship runs its course – and it will – tolerance, optimism, and vision will put the pieces back together. Believing in the ideal for which our democracy stands — true equality and freedom for all — will ultimately save us from ourselves.”
I wrote this paragraph after the 2004 election. It was part of my column that published weekly in The Harris County Journal. I took a lot of heat for the comments, and if I remember correctly, some civic-minded person ran over my mailbox…the first of many times that happened in seven years. (Of course, the “elephants” I know said it was a coincidence — is it a coincidence that my mailbox has not been hit since I left the paper?)
I was raised and still live in a very “red” part of Georgia, and I was the first voice in the local media that dared to challenge the prevailing way of thinking. The effort certainly did not reap me financial gain; in fact, in my opinion, when the newspaper was sold, the effort garnered me an offer I couldn’t refuse — to refuse, that is.
The effort did, however, afford me the opportunity now to suggest that perhaps I was correct — an opportunity which we all love to accept. I do not, however, point this out to rub salt in the wound as the Republican Party announces a rebranding campaign that totals $10 million — a campaign designed to attract minority and young voters. (Are all you folks getting out your checkbooks to donate to this venture?) I bring attention to these words to illuminate a very important point: propagating a philosophy which excludes and condemns others based on their religious, social, and cultural convictions serves only to divide. It is dangerous and destructive. Saying “if you don’t think like we do, then you don’t matter” will come back to bite you. It will overshadow the positive aspects of any other message the medium sends.
And we need no more proof than is in this pudding.
The Republican Party is struggling for the very reason our country is struggling: division and exclusion. I’m not saying “the condition our condition is in” is the GOP’s fault by any means. We are all to blame for the bed in which we lie. I am merely saying that what has happened to the GOP proves my point.
I am weary of hearing racial epithets; I am sickened by violence against women and girls; I am saddened by young boys losing their lives far too soon. It is time to address the most important problem in our culture.
It is time to call this duck a duck.
Call it wrong.