Really, we need to talk, because your world view is so distorted that I am beginning to have serious doubts about your sanity.
First there was the Republican debate in which you actually cheered execution. Then, earlier this week, you actually cheered the notion of allowing someone to die because they didn’t have health insurance. Oh, yes, and Ron Paul – are you listening? You, sir, are a douche bag. In fact, I think we need to make it clear right at the start that anyone who would cheer the suffering of death of another sentient being is a douche bag. And, while we’re at it, let’s be clear that any human being – and, while it is debatable, for the purposes of our discussion here we’ll assume that politicians are human beings – who would be in a place where people cheered executions or suffering and death and not speak out is just as big a douche bag as the people doing the cheering.
By now some will say that I shouldn’t have used the term “douche bag.” You’re probably right. It’s unfair to disparage douche bags, which – unlike the people cheering and those who remain silent – actually have a purpose for their existence. Others will say by using such language I am overstepping the limits of genteel discussion. I would agree. My problem is that when human beings actually cheer the demise of other human beings I think it’s a pretty fair assumption that the people doing the cheering are outside the bounds of genteel discussion already. In fact, they are barely clinging to their humanity.
At the most basic level, those who cheer the suffering of another are absolutely devoid of empathy or compassion. They lack the ability to walk in another’s shoes, even for a moment. The really frightening thing about that lack is that it reflects an astonishing inability or unwillingness to engage in abstract thought. In more direct terms, it means that such people are either dumb or deluded – or both. Perhaps most distressing of all, these people vote and the people running for office are such whores that they are willing to compromise whatever moral principles they have to get those votes. That would mean that the people running for office are either dumb or deluded – or both. It’s not a pretty picture.
I can forgive people in their twenties and early thirties for being deluded about the commonality of human suffering. There is something about that particular phase of human development that really needs to believe that human beings are invincible. After all, if people starting out in their careers and/or raising a family had any idea of what was ahead in their lives no sane person would do either. There comes a time, however, when we start to realize that maybe we aren’t indestructible after all.
For me, that time started when I was about thirty-five. While it’s hard to believe it by looking at me now, I was a really active weekend warrior athlete. When I was thirty-five I was playing softball two nights a week and umpiring it three nights a week. I was playing golf at least once a week, often more. I worked full-time and went to school full-time. I was an animal. Then everything started hurting more the day after – not enough to slow me down, but enough for me to notice. Then it started to hurt on the second day. By the time I was forty-five I had to have my shoulder surgically repaired and ankle reconstructed. At fifty I had spinal fusion. During that time I also saw my significantly younger wife have two major surgeries, and I saw her “sister-from-another-mister” transition at fifty-one. It was a brutal education in both suffering and the reality that our bodies will all breakdown and eventually die – very often much sooner than we expected.
I’m not suggesting that my experience is unique at all – which is precisely why I find it absolutely inconceivable that conservatives seem to lack the ability to empathize or feel compassion. They can’t possibly be so obtuse, or so socially isolated, that they don’t have friends or family members who are beginning to confront their own mortality. Surely by age forty or so we all know someone who has passed away. The only conclusion I can come to is that they just don’t give a damn, and that scares me.
Electing leaders who either lack compassion themselves or are so morally bankrupt that they are willing to sell out to those who do will mean that the decisions made by the legislative and executive branches of our government will also lack anything even remotely resembling a moral code. How ironic is it that the religious vision that is the foundation of conservative politics is conservative, evangelical, fundamentalist Christianity?
Actually, it’s not ironic at all because conservative, evangelical, fundamentalist Christianity is a profoundly selfish expression of religion that lacks any coherent spiritual foundation. The emphases of that particular religious perspective is entirely on the individual – my salvation, my “personal relationship with Jesus,” and, perhaps most frightening and morally bankrupt of all, my personal and political power. The blinders worn by these pseudo-Christians could easily be the stuff mental health journals. They use Jesus for their salvation and then steadfastly ignore everything else hat Jesus taught, did, or said. They read their scriptures though such feces-colored lenses that they fail to see that Jesus was profoundly critical of the religious leaders of his day precisely because they colluded with the political authorities to oppress the people. If hypocrisy were an art form, these people would all be Picasso.
Now more than ever, those of us who actually are able to function on an abstract level must speak out. We cannot remain silent. For as much as moderate to progressive people are reluctant to appear to be evangelizing, we can no longer remain silent. We much shout from the roof tops that there are no sentient beings who can be allowed to suffer and die while others stand by and not only fail to act but also actually cheer their demise. One simply cannot claim to be a spiritual or religious person and cheer suffering – there is no spiritual system short of Satanism that would support such a position.
If moderate people fail to raise their voices and fight against this nonsense with their feet and their votes and voices now, the day will soon come when we are forced to take up arms and fight. I don’t think any of us wants to see that happen, but how ironic is it that the very party that in the last election was decrying the alleged “death panels” they universal health care would bring about are now proving themselves only to willing to serve on very real death panels?
I’m ashamed to be an American right now.