Earlier this week, I saw this (see above) posted by a friend on facebook. In the context of other messages he’s posted, I know it was posted seriously, that is to say unironically. He means to assert the message contained in the image, not poke fun at it.
So, let’s unpack what my friend seems to believe.
He believes that if I vote for the re-election of the president, I am either ignorant (wittingly or unwittingly), “a communist” (almost humorously anachronistic), or just generally anti-American. (I’ll leave for another time a discussion of what the generally accepted list of “American values” might be.)
What this image doesn’t say is what I believe: Americans (that is, smart, engaged, well-intentioned, good-hearted, patriotic Americans) can disagree sincerely and passionately about policy, assessments of fact, political philosophy, understandings of history and world affairs. We can argue. We can do so civilly. We can support and vote for different candidates in elections and for or against ballot propositions.
I know a great many well-educated, productive, decent, hard-working Americans, some of whom are voting for Mitt Romney, some for Barack Obama, and some for other candidates for the presidency. I agree with some and disagree with some others but, either way, I don’t necessarily think those who disagree with my particular choice to be traitors, delusional and/or idiots.
And none of that disagreement means we’re any less American; quite the opposite. Civil public expression of the divergence of opinion is one American value I treasure greatly. In fact, any list of American values without it is, in this American’s opinion, fatally incomplete.
Don’t like who others are voting for? Don’t call them stupid or suggest you – and only you – have the keys to what it means to be a “real” American.
Discuss. Argue. Persuade.
In short, be a real American about it.
6 thoughts on “A Real American Value”
Disparagement and hatred of those who do not agree with you are definately not what I would call American Values. They are, however, highly valued by extremists of all ilks around the world. It can be hard to discuss, argue and persuade them, but we still have to make the effort. Because those ARE true American Values.
Echoing David, well said.. This is a cruel insult in the same manner as Romney’s disdain for 47% he accuses of living off the government. paying no taxes, and not taking responsibility. It shows contempt.
I wish the discourse today borrowed from 2007 Forum guest Richard Cizik when he invited Alan Jones to discuss the 90 percent of what they had in common & squabble over differences.
Agreed, Heidi. Or even the formerly civil discussions among US Senators over areas of disagreement that started with alignment on areas of commonality.