Evenings can be busy around my home, so I rarely have the time to sit down and watch television. Tonight was no exception, but it was important to me to watch at least part of the opening night of the Democratic National Convention, so I turned it on and absorbed what I could as I went about my other business. I caught Anthony R. Foxx, the young looking African-American mayor of Charlotte, and a little bit of Harry Reid (I had to walk the dog). I saw all of the women of the U.S. House of Representatives, and Rep. Jared Polis; the first openly gay parent to serve in the House. The Dems wanted to show diversity, and they surely did. Gay men and Hawaiian women spoke about the hardships they’ve had to overcome. The president of NARAL discussed the recent battles her organization has fought in the battle over women’s reproductive rights. And every time the cameras panned over the crowd, it was a sea of faces of every color, people who wanted to discuss Muslim’s rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights, voter disenfranchisement, every one of them with a seemingly different agenda.
So, where does that leave me? I’m a middle-aged heterosexual white male; I’ve had my share of tough times in the last 12 years like most people, but I’m not suffering. It seems like a an awful lot of people in my demographic feel disenfranchised by the Democrats, maybe feeling a little left out, by these special interest groups. Well, after watching tonight, I had an epiphany:
I’m not tolerant.
That seems strange to say, it’s been the stereotype used to define liberals for so long, “I thought you guys were supposed to be so tolerant.” But truth be told, I didn’t feel that tolerant tonight. And why should I?
It’s not tolerance that makes me support the rights of LGBT Americans, it’s love of country, as well as respect for its citizens. If you believe in America, you believe in it for everybody. And it’s practical, as well; your rights are only as safe as everyone else’s. I’m not tolerant of women’s rights to make choices about their own bodies, I’m insistent that everyone in my country has that right. It is the purest of anti-Americanism to suggest that anyone is not.
I’m an adult and I’ve lived long and have learned enough to know, that all those different agendas are one and the same. They are American Civil Rights. One of the most underhanded things the George W. Bush administration did was introduce the word ‘freedoms‘ into the nation’s vernacular. As though there was a menu, or a list of allowable rights.
There are no freedoms. There is only freedom; and you have all of it, or you have none.
And if anyone’s freedom can be taken away, so can yours.
I will also freely admit I am not tolerant of the Tea Party, The Ayn Rand disciples, the people who will spend a 100 million dollars to avoid paying a dollar in taxes. Their values are not ‘traditional’ or ‘Christian,’ and the only ‘family’ they truly value is their own. The politics of self-interest have failed; we have no time or interest in repeating them for the sake of those too obtuse to learn from past mistakes. The people who arm themselves against their countrymen, the ones who legislate by skin-tone or income size; we have given them all the attention they should be allowed. They’re to be feared or pitied, but they needn’t be listened to any longer.
The Americans at the podium, and the Americans in the crowd all have many voices, but they are all saying the same thing as I am:
Move America forward.