Location: Granite Falls, North Carolina, United States

I'm an ordained United Methodist minister no longer pastoring churches, a former media producer with skills ten years out of date, a writer trying to sell my first novel, and a sales associate keeping body and soul together working for the People's Republic of Corporate America. I'm married to the most wonderful woman in the world, who was my best friend for 17 years before we married.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

On Sniveling Cowards

I will reserve comment on the congressional page scandal for now. I won't jump in and pile on until I know more about what Hastert, Boehner, etc. new and when they knew it.

Then I may jump in with both feet.

But today, I want to ask, what are conservatives so scared of?

In my student internship in New Mexico, the senior pastor and my intern supervisor talked to me about one of our church members who was extremely conservative in the right-wing sense of the word. "He's a very fearful man," my supervisor said.

Those words come back to me now as I look at the right side of the current political divide. And I want to know, what are the Republicans so afraid of?

When I was standing in line to vote in 2004 the man in front of me remarked, "I'm more afraid of the liberals than I am of the terrorists." I didn't say anything at the time, partly because I didn't want to get into electioneering at the polls, which is illegal, and partly because I tend to be a bit slow on the uptake. I don't come up with counter-arguments easily off the top of my head.

But as I am able to ponder I remember the things I wish I had said. I wish I had said, "And I am more afraid of people who use words like 'liberal' as a short-cut past the thought process." Probably would have gone straight over his head.

But back to the point. I notice a river of fear (not a string, not a stream but a river) running through the letters to the editor and op ed pieces that defend the Bush Administration's illegal activities. "They attacked us on 9/11!" they proclaim, as though that gave any justification for abandoning what we stand for as Americans. They invoke the images of bodies falling from the World Trade Center buildings. They warn of terrorist plots. "Civil liberties won't do you any good if you're dead," which is one of the stupidest remarks I've ever heard. Our ancestors died to preserve those very liberties, and I'll be damned if a cowardly bunch of fear-mongers is going to take them away from me.

They invoke fear of terrorists, they are afraid of liberals, they are afraid to let their political opponents speak freely without being attacked for it. Are their own ideas so thoroughly impoverished that they have to resort to silencing their opponents in order to feel secure?

How pathetic.


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