Political Belligerence:
Show Some Respect

Chad Rogers
Staff Writer

   The current presidential election has brought about a sense of involvement that we have not seen for some time in this country. Although often seen as a positive, the negative effects are being seen in everyday life.

   As a reasonably logical and active young adult, I have made my decisions as far as who I will support in the upcoming campaign. One day I went to Wal-mart, as we all do, to pick up a few necessities. When I went to load up my trunk with the many items I ended up with, I noticed that someone, an “involved” citizen no doubt, had taken it upon themselves to deface my John Kerry for president stickers with lewd comments scribbled in permanent marker. This not only frustrates, but puzzles me as well. This country uses as its claim to fame the ability to speak one’s mind concerning politics, religion and other controversial issues. But where the dilemma lies is when others use their rights of free speech to impose upon and limit the rights of others.

   With convention season coming to a close and the election looming in the near future, America is going through the usual four year revival of political interest. However, this particular election has revived a spirit of political prejudice not seen since the radical social reforms of the 1960s and 1970s. No longer can we hope for a fair and spirited contest of ideals, but instead a back and forth battle of, “You’re stupid” — “No, you’re stupid.”

   This attitude goes far beyond the instance of someone defacing my bumper stickers. I have spoken with many friends of mine who cannot, as hard as they try, keep “John Kerry for President,” signs in their yards without them being stolen on a daily basis. Where have the times gone where two people can discuss their philosophical differences and hold on to the words of Voltaire, “I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.” It is one of the true evils in our society that in this day and age after so much has been done to value all ideas and opinions, that such chastisement awaits those who dare hold beliefs contrary to that of the majority.

   It completely perplexes me that ideas such as, “to be against the President is to be un-American,” are still being entertained as having logical significance. If this were true, then the Civil Rights protesters that we now look up to for being strong enough to influence societal change for the better, could now be defined as “un-American” criminals.

   The America that I know and love is based on the idealism that things aren’t as good as they could be. Understanding this, being critical and logical of our political system only encourages us to keep striving for something greater. If a broader section of Americans could realize our potential for growth and let go of this, “we’re the best, so that’s good enough,” mindset, there would be no limits to what we as Americans could achieve for ourselves, and the rest of the world as well.

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