Complete the following sentences, if your personal values permit you to do so:
All black people are (descriptive word).
All women are (descriptive word).
All Jews are (descriptive word).
All Hispanics are (descriptive word).
All homosexuals are (descriptive word).
Hopefully you were unable to find a single word to describe every member of each group, or better yet, you refused to be drawn into bigotry based on race, gender, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation.
Welcome to the 21st century. It’s a neat place to be, especially when it comes to respect for everyone.
Well, almost everyone.
Politics, I submit, is the last refuge of bigotry.
Candidates, and indeed, entire political parties, are painted with the brush of bigotry, and we seem willing to deem this to be acceptable behavior, especially when “our side” is wielding the brush.
Let’s consider some examples.
“There is no such thing as a ‘compassionate conservative.’”
Say what? There are millions of Americans who espouse the conservative point of view, just as there are millions who embrace the liberal philosophy. To ascribe one negative characteristic — lack of compassion — to all of them is bigotry, pure and simple.
To test that theory, substitute one of the groups in the first few sentences for “conservatives” and see how you would react to such a declaration. Would you say that there is no such thing as a compassionate black, woman, Jew, Hispanic, or homosexual?
Of course not ... but that’s different, right?
Different in what way?
“Rich people don’t pay taxes.”
This blatant appeal to class warfare cuts both ways. There are rich people in both parties. And they pay taxes.
If you buy into this myth, apply this test: Approach the “rich person” of your choice and say, “I know you don’t pay taxes, and to prove it, for the next year, beginning today, I will pay all your taxes (if any) if you will pay all my taxes.”
Lots of luck, compadre. See you on April 15.
One anti-Romney commercial purported to blame Romney for the death of a woman who died after a Bain Capital business closed, which ended her health insurance.
One of my most liberal friends, when I told him years ago that I embrace the concept of universal medical care (which I think makes me a compassionate conservative) replied, “We already have it. There are plenty of programs for the uninsured. All you have to do is find out where to go.”
Countless anti-Obama emails accuse the president of being intent on destroying America. Politicians seek public office for a variety of reasons — some noble, some less than noble — but destroying a city, state, or nation is not among them.
Would you raise your child to embrace bigotry toward any group based on race, gender, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation? Probably not.
Would you raise your children to embrace bigotry toward any group based on party affiliation, household income, or political philosophy?
Bigotry is bigotry.
Political bigotry may be the last frontier.
(S. L. Frisbie is retired. He was a Boy Scout in his youth, requiring him to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. He resurrected all 12 without going to the Internet. To this day he remains thrifty. And, for extra credit, compassionate.)