Monday, November 19, 2012

How the majority are bullied into fear. . .

Lets face it.  The election was more PR game and the victory of an image over substance or issues.  Maybe Romney was not the right guy or maybe his campaign made some fatal mistakes in the way it communicated to the public.  Maybe Obama is, after all, the masterful manipulator, painting images that are so strong in our minds that we cannot shake them off even when confronted by the truth.  In any case, we have to face the fact that the majority opinions in America were bullied and pushed around as if we were a small minority.  What's done is done and the election is history.  But can we learn from it?  How did the positions pro-life, pro-family, and pro-compassion toward others get turned into the force of the dark side?

The majority were bullied by the classic methods of marginalizing, stereotyping, and discrediting the values and positions of an opponent.  We were stereotyped over and over again as haters, thieves plotting to steal away the rights of the many, and more anti things than for them.  Example:  Abortion.  When it became an argument about birth control, we lost the edge.  Pro-life became anti-abortion, anti-birth control, and anti-personal freedom and individual responsibility.  I do not believe we need to change the argument but we do need to break the stereotype and speak passionately of what we are for -- the pro in pro-life.  You cannot tell me that a majority of Roman Catholics and especially Hispanic Roman Catholics do not resonate with these values and positions but we let the stereotype steal away the upper hand of our moral position.

The majority were vilified and made to be evil and wicked folk.  Example:  Those who are pro-life and pro-family and pro-children were effectively painted as close-minded, harmful to human dignity and freedom, intolerant, hateful, bigoted, unfair, homophobic, reactionary, and just plain mean and evil people. Never mind that these are the folks who built religious hospitals, run huge charitable and social service organizations, care for those feel abortion is their only choice, give aid to the victims of natural disaster, settle the refugees, feed the hungry and provide the bulk of the service to the poor and homeless.  We somehow let our deeds get lost and we ended up sounding like the narrow minded and judgmental people who hate everyone who is not like us.  I believe that we are still the majority and we need to take back the argument as church folk who do mountains of good in our neighborhoods, communities, nation, and world.

The majority were painted into a corner in which we sounded like we were more interested in money than people, in protecting our backside instead of truth.  Example:  The HHS assault on religion with respect to the coverage of abortion, abortifacients, and mandatory birth control coverage.  The issue here is not only nor primarily abortion and its related points but the first of all guaranteed rights -- freedom of religion.  We failed to communicate to people that this was not an insurance argument for the cubicle and allowed them to forget they and their religion and values were under assault.  It ended up looking as if the religious were throwing a hissy fit over some little deal instead of religious freedom at stake.  I believe that the majority still want the government to get out of religion and to allow religious freedom to remain our first right.

The majority have been persecuted by selectively targeting what to defend and what to assault.  So, for example, the Hosanna - Tabor case became about the terrible treatment of this poor disabled teacher instead of a case for religious freedom.  We won in the courtroom but lost in the courtroom of opinion.  Those opposed, the minority, will continue to selectively persecute what is clearly the majority opinion held by a majority of people but, unless we change our image, it will appear to be something benign and bogus to the public.  When we are free to hold our religious dogmas and moral values only in the privacy of our heart or home they become meaningless and powerless.  It is only if we are allowed to stand on principle in the public square that our moral values and religious doctrines carry weight.  I believe the majority still believe that the government is stretching in its pursuit of religious institutions and the narrowing of their freedom of expression and practice to merely a freedom of worship  but we have to take back the argument or we will be cornered by our oppressors through the selective persecution of the vocal and vulnerable.

For pete's sake -- if only the vast majority of Roman Catholics and Lutherans and Protestants opposed to abortion had voted their conscience without the fear mongering of the liberal left, the election might have had a very different outcome.  But I write not for the sake of elections or candidates.  My passion is for the truth, for the protection of our guaranteed rights, for the high moral ground we have staked out, and for the majority, though often silent, that still believes this is good, right, and true.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Plenty of democrats are pro-life, but balance that against their desire for freebies and the desire for freebies wins.

The USA was founded by folks with the attitude that if they could just get away from the oppressive regime, they could make it on their own. That is exactly what they did. They went out and built tons of stuff.

The people who want freebies are those who came after the builders. They do not have that same self confidence nor indeed the actual abilities, so they want stuff from the builders. Just look at Europe. Among the Europeans are the people built all that stuff and also those who want a piece of it. That is why they vote for all those socialized programs. For a very long time in the USA the confident builders outnumbered the insecure socializers. Now they don't. It is not that the insecure do not contribute to prosperity, they do, but they lack confidence that they can do better for themselves without help. Among the insecure are some pro-life folks, but their principles do not trump their insecurity.