Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Just Americans

As a populace we hang identifiers on ourselves. We call ourselves Democrats, Republicans, Independents in politics. We are a Christian, or a Jew, or a Muslim, or an atheist, or agnostic. Then we're class identified as blue collar, middle class, wealthy, or poor. There is the matter of geography, rural or urban, then east, west, north, south, middle. All these labels end in what? Americans?

Evidently not, as Colin Powell said the other day and Maureen Dowd reminded me today. There are some real as opposed to constructed difficulties to Chuck the construction guy becoming President, but Barak Obama has shown a path of sorts. But let's move from practical to constructed obstacles, does some one believe an atheist, agnostic, or Muslim is going to have a reasonable shot?

Which part of the First Amendment that all Americans utilize is it that is reflected in this status? If your religion doesn't involve something that is otherwise illegal you're free to practice it. In certain narrow circumstances even otherwise illegal behavior is permitted. What isn't permitted, in practical terms, is a religion other than Christianity - though Judaism isn't quite disqualified. Now I'm not a Religious Partisan, not now not ever. I'm as close to an agnostic as one can get without quite being there, that means that I hold no brief for your religion. If religion drives your vote I have no idea what it is you think America is.

The picture of the mother leaning on the headstone with a star and crescent and military rank tore my heart. It tore my heart that she lost her son and it tore it that somehow in America of 2008 that symbol disqualifies her family from anything. As Powell noted, the converse of the lie that Obama is Muslim is how can that possibly matter? If every other part of Obama was exactly the same why would Islam disqualify him in American's minds?

"We were attacked by Muslims," seems to be an excuse. Well, now the simple fact is that we were subjugated by Christian British in 1776, attacked by Christian British in 1812, went to war with Christian Spain, warred twice with Christian Germany, and the little Civil War issue certainly involved a lot of Christians killing each other. Five minutes in one Civil War battle killed more Americans than 9/11 and given about a half hour more than all our fights with Muslims. Christian Americans have killed the hell out of Americans over the years, the terrorist attacks in this country are by far the acts of Christians. If Americans need to be afraid of a religion I'm afraid it is Christianity.

All that is utter nonsense, of course. You could go the line of any religion other than yours is evil and therefore its practitioners are evil. If this is your line of thought, there is an awful lot of evil in the world and some of your respected friends, family, and even icons are evil. I certainly become evil under that metric since I don't practice anybody's religion. I'm pretty sure I'm not evil, but I guess you just have to take my word for it. You have my written record to peruse, but that's still taking my word for it.

I've made it pretty clear that I'm going to vote for Barack Obama. It may surprise you that I don't hold his religion against him, or for him. I don't care about it one way or the other beyond being tired of hearing about it. I'm tired of hearing about it as a qualifier or disqualification. I'm tired of hearing Americans labeled with prejudice as being of any religious persuasion.

I don't like living in cities so I'm happy being rural, I don't think I'm special because of that. I live in the mountainous West and I don't think I'm special for that - I like it better and for me it is a better lifestyle but that means nothing more than that. I'm a construction worker, I'm in better physical condition than most my age, but that's about the extent of the advantages I get. I certainly have a better insight into being a construction worker in the rural mountainous west than a NY, NY banker. That in itself doesn't make me a qualified observer of the entire US. I am not special, more patriotic, more anything because of those labels - I am simply an American.

I'm going to take that one step farther, when this country gets it wrong, I am a human being with his own judgement, I don't ask the American government to think for me. I will make my own judgements and suffer whatever consequences. That may make me quintessentially American. Next time somebody presents it as reasonable to make judgements about people based on their "labels" you might ask them if we're not just talking about Americans, after all.

4 comments:

Nick Istre said...

Some people need to learn the difference between nationalism and patriotism, and why refraining from the former does not excluding taking part in the latter.

Then again, that requires that those certain people learn, and they haven't been too good with that respect...

Chuck Butcher said...

yep Nick,
See a less than 20 pt Obama advantage for the extent of learning disabilities.

Zak Johnson said...

Funny how Palin & McCain don't seem to think their "real" Americans think much of the U.S. Constitution. McCain has clearly chosen a shot at winning over a shot at being able to govern should he win. Hopefully this will prove to be the ignoble end to a careening career.

Chuck Butcher said...

Not that I would have ever voted for McCain but I didn't have problems tolerating him as Senator from Arizona. That should probably change.