Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Vision for America


In a recent Facebook post, I wrote the following:

I think we have some mighty good leaders in Washington, but the GOP has a choke hold on our necks - we can't breath, we can't get legislation passed - the only priorities tolerated by the GOP is tax cuts, fund the military and screw the people, as long as they're not wealthy. We have good leadership, but enough of it. We can make a difference in 2014 and send more leaders to Washington.

To which a friend replied:

I think we have some mighty good leaders in Washington, but the Democrats have a choke hold on our necks - we can't breathe, we can't get legislation passed - the only priorities tolerated by the Democrats is spend money that you take from people who work hard to get it, and give it to people that don't work. We have good leaders in Washington, but enough of this. We can make a difference in 2014 and send more leaders to Washington.

It all depends on what vision for America we hold dear. 

I stand for a woman's right to make personal medical choices regarding her pregnancy, and I stand against an overly zealous government regulating a woman's health-care options. I stand for marriage equality, and I stand against those who would impose upon the nation a singular religious viewpoint, for which we once fought a Revolution against Great Britain and the Anglican Church. 

I stand for a strong and vital safety net, including SS, Medicaid and Medicare, and I stand against those who would cut these programs to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy and to fund our already-bloated military budget. 

I stand for those who recognize, along with 95% of the world scientists, that human activity is negatively influencing global warming, and I stand against those who retreat into creationist notions of a young earth and God protecting the earth from harm. 

I stand with those who defend workers' rights for good wages and benefits, and against those who would gladly do away with unions and all other laws protecting workers from the avarice of American Capital. 

I stand against Paul Ryan and his Ayn Rand dream for America, and I stand with those who honor the vision of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. 

For me, all of this is rooted in my reading of the Bible and my understanding of the christian tradition of justice. A vision of America's greatness, determined by social kindness rather than economic domination. A vision that welcomes and never excludes. A vision grounded in the Beatitudes and that small and powerful little letter from James, both of which have mostly been ignored or twisted out of shape by conservative christians who refuse to give heed to the larger vision of "thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." 

I no longer argue with evangelicals on any of this. God will work it out in their hearts. And when it comes to these visions, I doubt very much if both can be right. Paul's Ryan's vision for America is not the same as mine. I doubt if we both can be right.  

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