November 17, 2010

Bigotry, Beliefs and Values - The Stakes Are High, The Way Forward Difficult

Some have accused me of bigotry following my post of October 29th, Obama Is Intelligent, Well-Educated, Caring - Save Us From Him, Say Republicans and Tea Partiers.  In that post I repeatedly pointed out that I was certain that not all persons who consider themselves to be conservative, Republican, white and Christian support all the beliefs and values of these respective groups, all the time.  Despite my efforts not to stereotype all members of these groups there were some who read my post and took my comments very personally, and nevertheless believe I think all people in these groups possess all the beliefs and values of these groups.

In my post I took issue with the core values and beliefs of these groups, not those of every individual member, as they are currently expressed politically.  Again, I did not say that all conservative, white, Christian, Republicans have the same beliefs and values.  However, I remain convinced that there is enough in the core beliefs and values of these groups to make a strong case for viewing their ongoing political efforts as a desire to return America to a previous era when these groups enjoyed relatively uncontested power and near exclusive privileges.

Incidentally, when I asked a friend if he thought I had hit a nerve with some people, he said, "Not at all, Jim.  You smashed the s___ out of their nerves with a sledge hammer!"  Ouch.  I was not attacking persons or their nerves.  It was their groups' core values, beliefs and motivations I sought to criticize.

As for the accusation that I am a bigot, it seems to me that may not be correct.  Wikipedia, my quick and evermore widely respected source for definitions, says that a bigot is someone who is "obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices, especially one exhibiting intolerance, irrationality, and animosity toward those of differing beliefs. The predominant usage in modern American English refers to persons hostile to those of differing race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, various mental disorders, or religion."

So, let me use the terms in this definition to see if I really am a bigot:

I am passionate about my opinions and beliefs.  However, I will modify or exchange them for other opinions and beliefs that are more truthful and just.  I do not prejudge people.  However, I develop an opinion on the rightness or wrongness of an idea or belief only after considering it carefully.  I am not hostile to members of any race, ethnicity, nationality, or those of any sexual orientation, or those who have mental disorders.  I may not agree with all they believe in but I am never hostile toward them because of their group membership, lifestyle or disability.  I am intolerant of and will oppose the supernatural beliefs of religions and other belief systems that have disdain for reason, free-thought and the use of scientific knowledge as bases for morality and governance, or that threaten the well-being and future of humankind and Earth.

You decide.

The stakes are high, the problems of humankind and the Earth are monumental and growing more difficult and numerous each day.

Liberals, Democrats, the racially diverse, and free-thinkers also have their core values and beliefs.  Count me among them but I do not share all the values and beliefs of all these groups, all the time.  I am convinced, however, that individual and group action based on the core values and beliefs of these groups, warts and all, is humankind's best chance for prosperity, peace and happiness, now and in the future, on Earth.  Their beliefs and values are demonstrably more inclusive, open to change and diverse.  They are a better fit for Earth and humankind both of which, by their very nature, will continue to change, diversify and become more inclusive.

2 comments:

Kevin Graham said...

Jim,
I went back and reread your post referenced.
The first question I have is what was the comment by David Renee Rachel Luke that you deleted?

One comment does not make a controversy. If there were others I would like them to be made public.
Perhaps I missed something.

I also believe that you were correct in your assesment of the general attitudes and perspective of the conservative, tea baggers and other "multiphobic" persons or groups of persons who do not recognize the basic human rights and dignities of another human, who does not happen to be a clone of his or herself.

I do not subscribe to any political party or religious organization. I try to think clear of any affiliation that dictates a prescribed thought. If I believe something I reserve my right to be wrong and change my thinking if given good logical reasons why I am incorrect in my position. I believe you have said basically the same thing. This is how we learn.

I do not consider myself as part of the herd.

I,like you, have a sense of my core values but I realize I know only a little and more will be revealed in time. I must question everything and be satisfied with nothing

The Patriarchal society is threatened by the changing times. America is decades behind the social acceptance and tolerance levels of the other democratic industrialized countries and unions.

The white, male, conservative, religious eliteist have legislated their way to the level of power and control they now hold.

The social equality laws passed with the civil rights act of the 1960's were a prime example of the attitude and hate that permeated the congress at the time. Although the civil rights act was passed it presented an opportunity for the true colors of many white politicians to express their defiance to the law and their hate for the people the laws were passed to benefit.
If you do a comparison today not a whole lot has changed. The targeted groups may have changed but the racism, hate and intolerance is as strong in some circles as in the 1960's, the same time they want to take the country back to. How progressive is that?

I don't really understand what the threat is.
Would we not all be better off if there were less poverty, crime, hunger and killing?

Yet, let the war machine continue with the war on drugs, the war on immigration, the war on this and the war on that. Then there are the real wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Can they be justified with their rhetoric, I don't believe they can.

WE as Americans have been bamboozled for so long we would not know the truth if it were handed to us in a paper cup.
The wingnuts can tell us the sky is falling and we would all go and buy umbrellas, while waiting for them to work their voodo to stop the pieces of sky from killing us.

They are killing us with their backwoods, cowboy,
Alaskan mentality of superiority.
We are a diverse country of first, second, third, fourth, and fifth generations of immigrants. The only true Americans are the most persecuted among us, The Native American Indian.
Our history as a developing nation has been built with lust and greed on the backs of the weak and the downtrodden. We have not been very human in our development of humanity.


"The stakes are high, the problems of humankind and the Earth are monumental and growing more difficult and numerous each day." Your words ring true to my ears. I have been saying this to the deaf ears who only see us as the great nation we once were. I see us as shadow of our former selves.
We must stop the discourse and insanity in our Government and give the power back to the people.
All the people, black, white, gay, Christian, Atheist, Muslim, Indian, etc....

Until we see all people as one, no better no worse
than ourselves, with the same dreams and fears, love for their families and hope for bettering their lives, we will continue to separate and segregate ourselves into oblivion.

Kevin M. Graham

James E Lassiter said...

Kevin, Thank you for your comment. I wonder just how many others are out there, around the world, who see things in a manner similar to the way we do. Many I think. Wonder how many of those are willing to express it?

Re. your opening, I did not delete the first comment by DRRL. Its (the comment's) author(s) removed it, somewhow. I just looked at my post the next day and saw the comment described as having been deleted. I guess they posted a comment then blocked access to their blog as a way of removing it. Not really sure. While I reserve the right to remove SPAM comments, vile, vulgar and obscene comments, etc., I welcome any and all sane comments, including those agreeable to or against my views. JEL

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