Rhonda Cagle

Sex, Religion, and Politics

In Uncategorized on March 25, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Sex. Religion. Politics. The mere mention of these subjects makes my genteel mother squirm at my lack of civility. Given our country’s current religious and political climate, however, my mother is desperately hoping I’ll regale you with tawdry tales of past indiscretions and sweaty trysts with lovers named…

Ahem.

The truth is it would be a lot easier to talk about past peccadilloes with unnamed lovers.  The politics of our current day have become infused with the vitriolic fervor of religiosity prompting members of churches and Congress to firmly, fearfully retreat to one side or the other of the respective aisle. Crossing that aisle has become something like traveling through the DMZ with both sides sniping at the person in the middle. Just listen to Glenn Beck equating churches that preach social justice as code speak for Nazism or Communism or Rev. Jeremiah Wright preaching the assertion that the United States brought on the 9/11 attacks with its own “terrorism.” Both are extremists, encouraging those on either side of the respective aisle not to get too close to the center. These two men, and others like them, seem to be pompous windbags who earn a living on making people afraid of or angry about one thing or another. The trouble is, people listen to them.

Today I read in the news that the FBI is launching several investigations into death threats, bomb threats, and acts of vandalism aimed at lawmakers. Members of Congress have had office windows smashed. A condom and shredded American flags doused in gasoline were sent to representatives who voted for healthcare reform. HazMat crews were called in to investigate suspicious packages sent to members of both parties. Both Republicans and Democrats have been subjected to hundreds of letters, phone calls, and e-mails filled with language that would make a sailor blush and accusations of racism, Communism, and all the –isms that cause people to move further away from the clearing in the middle and take cover in the protection of propaganda. Healthcare reform will bankrupt our country. Republicans are opposed to any kind of change. The words keep flying and the people keep running. Those who don’t run – those who get too close to the middle – are cut down with insults of “baby killer” or “traitor.”

I wonder what would happen if Americans of the Christian faith or no faith – Democrats and Republicans – would be quiet for just a few minutes… take a step toward the middle… look into the eyes of the people on the other side of the aisle. We might discover some interesting facts about each other. Those on the other side have family. Like me, they’re worried about affordable healthcare and giving their loved ones good care without going broke. They don’t like raising taxes. Like me, they’re trying to figure out how to balance the good of the individual with the good of the whole. They don’t have all the answers. Like me, they’ve inherited a country facing unprecedented challenges and they’re doing the best they can with limited knowledge and ability. Looking across the aisle, the opposition looks less like a jackass and more like a person – a person like me.

My mother taught me not to talk about sex, religion, or politics. But maybe, just maybe, my mother was wrong. If we talked more – listened more – about subjects that are off limits, we might be willing to step out of our comfort zone and move toward the middle.

Now, back to those unnamed lovers…

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  1. Well??? 🙂

    You’re so right, Rhonda. It’s tragic, isn’t it? I don’t live in America, but I love the country and it tragic to see such a great country so divided. The President keeps talking about unity and serving each other and, well, everything that doesn’t seem to be happening near enough. Fear is a horrible emotion and always leads to bad decision making (speaking from too much experience). I don’t how we turn all that around, but turning off the Becks and Limbaughs of this would be an excellent start.

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