Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Open Letter to Conservatives

¡Hola! Everybody...
We do live under the Chinese curse of “interesting times... ” Consider the following: a center-right president, winner in an electoral landslide, backed by a democratically elected legislative branch, passed a conservative healthcare reform bill. Three branches of our democratically elected government came through on their collective promise to reform healthcare, passed a conservative, pro-business reform bill, and conservatives call that a Nazi takeover -- comparing it to tragedies such as the Pearl Harbor and 9/11 attacks.

And not one major mainstream news source sees anything wrong about this...

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-=[ An Open Letter to Conservatives ]=-

If the only prayer you say in your whole life is “thank you,” that would suffice.

-- Meister Eckhart (c.1260-c.1327)

For some time now, the fRight Wing has really challenged my spiritual practice. It gets increasingly more difficult to muster any compassion for what I see as the ugly side of the American psyche. It’s so much easier to forget that though this political ideology is rooted in ignorance, those whop adhere to it are also human beings. It’s difficult to recognize that in their ignorance, not only do they bring suffering others, but also to themselves.

I see the signs of hate, racism, and homophobia; the bullying, the arrogance, and it gets my Chango up and running. How could so many people have so much hate and aversion for their own kind?

To be sure, not all conservatives are alike, but even in the best of times I view conservatism as I would an emergency brake on a car: it’s a necessary tool best used sparingly. Today, we live in an extreme conservative world here in El Norte, and it’s literally killing tens of thousands here and untold millions abroad. The fRight Wing today has morphed into a belligerent, authoritarian mob, and it doesn’t take much to see them as pure evil. In a sense, what goes for the right today is malevolence. But to succumb to stooping down to that level is become just as intolerant and authoritarian.

Many people see political orientation as a continuum on a line, but I see it more like a Moebius Strip: even progressive values can morph into the authoritarian mindset that is the hallmark of conservatism.

Therefore, I am writing this letter to all conservatives thanking them and expressing my gratitude for all that they bring...

I thank homophobic fRight-wingers because they remind me how easy it is to lose sight of someone’s humanity simply because they have a different sexual orientation than mine. They remind me that I must live consciously.

I am grateful for their intolerance because it incites my own intolerance and reminds me that if I become intolerant of them, then I have become as them.

I tip my hat to the barely disguised racist contempt for people of color because it reminds me that social justice is a life-long task and to fall back into a false sense of security of a “post-racial” America is to risk losing whatever civil rights gains we have made.

Not all conservatives are extremists, I’m sure. But even that soccer mom from New Jersey, who will swear to you she’s a liberal (or worse a “moderate”) rejoices in the killing of “other” women and children in “other” countries because she thinks it will keep her children safe. She is not a monster or something evil; she is part of the banality of contemporary American life. I cannot hate her, for she is my friend.

Conservatives are our family members, goober cousins from Texas who have forgotten where they come from and that no matter how much they toe the conservative line, to many on the right, they’re just a bunch of Spics. Conservatives are our brothers and sisters who in their blindness and fear talk about “niggers” behind closed doors.

Conservatives challenge my spirituality on a daily basis. They challenge me to dig deep inside, to seek a way to find compassion in spite of their hate and blindness. So, I thank them today. I thank them for forcing me to deepen my practice because it’s easy to care, love and respect those we get along with and care about, but it’s a whole ‘nother level to extend the same for those who wish us harm.

Thank you, Tea Baggers, Neocons, so-called “libertarians,” and “moderates” for keeping it real for me; for reminding me that when I lose sight of your humanity, I lose mine.



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