One of the nicest things about living in the United States is that I have the freedom to choose – or not choose – a religion and not be discriminated against because of that choice. It should be the same in the political arena. I’m a huge proponent of my fellow citizens taking the time to exercise our fundamental rights as Americans – voting. And while I do have very strong personal opinions on which candidate I think will do a better job, I don’t think picking “the right” candidate is any more important than just getting out to the polls. Nor am I ever going to ostracize someone for picking a different choice than me. What infuriates me is when people try to make me feel I’ve made a bad choice – whether it be for rejecting a religion or for picking the other guy on election day.
I had a really great heart to heart – middle of the night – discussion with some friends a while back where two of them expressed how refreshing it was to know this about me. We were talking about religion mostly – both are members of the religion I was raised in and later rejected as an adult – but the conversation also turned to gay rights which is one of the major hot points in today’s politics. In expressing my differing views I never once made them feel their choices were wrong or that they weren’t entitled to the same freedom I always demand for myself when making my own choices.
Which begs the question: How did we get to be such a society where it is no longer about having the freedom of choosing for ourselves but about which choice is made by the majority? Why is it that a Muslim or an Athiest is viewed differently than a Christian? And why is the political stage so awash in religious tenets? Why has “conservativism” become a choice of Christianity and the “liberals” the ones trying to destroy the “In God We Trust” folks? Don’t people remember when ‘In God We Trust’ was added and that most of our parents didn’t pledge allegiance to a flag that included the word “under God” in it when they were children? Since when has the conversation been more about proving your choice better than allowing tolerance for everyone’s choice?
Bottom line, religion and politics have become far too intertwined and far too much emphasis on personal worth has been placed on both choices a person makes. Just because my opinions or belief system differs from yours doesn’t mean I’m wrong any more than you are wrong because you made a different choice than me. In this very crazy political season, I hope there’s others out there with the same thought process because if not we are going down a very slippery slope as a nation and it makes me sad. Remember, once you invalidate someone’s personal beliefs it undermines the very fabric this great nation was founded upon. Today it might be tolerance that you show another that someday will come back to you from others and you’ll be thankful you had an open mind.