I listen to the local grandees slapping their knees and chortling as they talk about shooting a few liberals so we get the point. I look at the paper and I see an editorial saying that people with my opinions aren’t American and should leave the country. I look at the TV and I’m being called a traitor, a liar, a sympathizer with our enemies. I see nice clean smart educated middle-class people in sweaters agreeing with each other that homosexuals and liberals and non-christians should be excluded from our schools and government jobs because “they just don’t share our values”.
I see this more and more, and a hundredfold again more since this election.
And then I look at my conservative friends, who vote and donate and support these people. I think about people who are very nice to my face and share food with me and appear to enjoy my company, and call themselves my friends. And then I look at their friends. And I think: “What do they say when I’m not around?”
Do they stand up for me and mine at all? Does anyone ever say “No, those people are Americans, too; their viewpoint is legitimate”. Or “Don’t be silly, this country has room for more opinions than one.” Or even just “live and let live”?
I was raised to build bridges to others; to find points of agreement; to share values when I couldn’t share politics; and to agree to disagree. I can’t do that any more, because they’re making total war on me. When I do it with you now, I feel like an idiot, because no one on your side plays that game now.
My father and his father and his father before him back to the founding of this country have fought in all our wars. I am an American or I am nothing. The liberal values we have are Kennedy’s, and FDR’s, and Jefferson’s. But your friends say that’s all a lie, or at least it’s all over with, and it’s time for me to leave and let them have their way.
Is that how you see me, too? Is that what you want, too? Because if that’s the case, please tell me. Then I’ll know who isn’t my friend, and never was. I’d never thought I’d say this, but I don’t feel safe around you any more.