I participate in a blogging activity that has been a real pleasure for me. It's been creatively stimulating, giving me some great ideas for posts. More importantly, I've encountered some wonderful bloggers, and I've had some great visitors (thank you all!).
The bloggers who participate represent the diversity of the blogosphere, so it's only a natural that I might encounter people different than me. My blog isn't about politics, except in the sense that politics matters to ME, so I don't usually write about it.
But this weekend, I visited a blogger, another participant in the fun activity we share. And scrolling down from her post, I read the post she wrote following the results of the presidential election.
I know lots of people who voted for the guy who lost. And most of them have expressed their disappointment, sometimes even grief, but most of them have also expressed - sometimes grudgingly - their cautious hopes that our country will be well-served by Barack Obama - or at least, survive his presidency.
So I was surprised to read my blogging friend's post, which warned that Senator Obama was a Muslim and that his goal was to subject the US to Islamic Shariah law. A commenter to her post compared Senator Obama's election to the rise of Hitler.
I moved on to another blog, and even left my desk for lunch, but I was really bothered by this. She had expressed such fear, and her commenter had even upped the ante. Finally, I went back to my desk, and I wrote a comment, trying to be as respectful as possible. I said that Senator Obama was a Christian, and that he loved our country and respected the Constitution. I quoted John McCain's gracious words from his concession speech where he said:
I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together to find the necessary compromises to bridge our differences and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.My friend's blog is set up for the owner to approve comments. So when I didn't see mine for a while, I figured maybe she didn't want to post it. But about four hours later, it was there, with an editorial addition from her. She acknowledged that Senator McCain's speech was good, but then claimed that Obama was a liar who had brainwashed all his followers, and if I didn't think he was a threat to Christians, I was "drinking the Kool-Aid."
I decided not to argue with her. It's her blog, after all. One doesn't argue with one's hostess. But - if I had the chance, here's what I would say....
Yes, you're right. I have been a supporter of Barack Obama since John Edwards dropped out, and perhaps I have sipped some Kool Aid. Why, just the other week, Colin Powell and I were enjoying a cool frosty pitcher of Blue Raspberry together.
So I understand why you might mistrust what I have to say.
But that's why I'm asking you to read or listen to what respected people on your own side have to say. There are plenty of Republicans who supported Senator Obama before Election Day, but if you mistrust their judgment, then listen to what those who opposed him, have said in the interest of moving forward and healing.
John McCain - in a moment of true grace - says Barack Obama loves our country. Michelle Bachman, Republican congresswoman from Minnesota, has been gracious about Obama's win. President Bush has congratulated him. Even Sarah Palin offered to work with the Obama administration.
A President Obama will enact some policies you disagree with. But there's something you can do about that. Folks on my side did the same, for the last eight years, with a president whose policies we disagreed with.
By all means, if you oppose the policies of President-Elect Obama, work within the political process to defeat him in the next election. Work to elect senators and representatives that reflect your view. Speak out when you disagree with his actions. I'm sure there will be many times that people on my side of the aisle disagree with his actions - and we will speak out, too.
But please, good friend, do not stay awake at night worrying that this good, intelligent, dedicated man is going to threaten your way of life, your religion, and your country. He is not Hitler 2.0. He will not suspend the Constitution. He is not the anti-Christ, as a third commenter of yours worried. Do not allow yourself to live a life of fear and paranoia based on untruths, rumors, and the manipulations of those who have something to gain by making you afraid.
I probably won't be visiting your blog very much after this, but I wish you the best.