Thursday, August 2, 2012

loving in the midst of controversy

I love election years.  I love exercising my freedom to vote.  I appreciate the sacrifices that make this possible.

I also hate election years.  Elections bring out the worst in people.  Facebook is full of hateful posts right now.  There are tons of posts of why everyone who doesn't agree with the poster is stupid.  Even the commercials are completely negative.  I'm so very tired of hearing what the opponent can not do rather than what the campaigning person can do.

And I finally have to say something about it all.  I love people.  Have you looked at my Facebook friends list lately?  I have friends of every size, shape and color.  I have friends who are Jewish, Muslim, Atheist, Mormon.  I have friends of every denomination of Christianity, Catholic, Lutheran, Pentacostal, Baptist, you name it.

My friends all look different.  They all worship differently.  And they have very different political views as well.  I have friends who are pro-life and friends who are pro-choice.  Friends in favor of same sex marriage and friends against it.  I have friends who are conservative, friends who are liberal, friends who are moderate and friends who reach every extreme of that spectrum.

Here is the great part.  I LOVE THEM ALL. I love my friends, even when we view life differently.  I'm glad people believe in their convictions enough to vote for them.  I'm glad I have friends who can tell me that they disagree with my opinion.

Here is the not so great part.  I'm tired of being called hateful if I express my own opinion.  I'm tired of being lumped into a category saying that everyone who believes a certain way is stupid and uneducated.  I'm not an idiot.  I'm not hateful or fearful. 

 I'm not afraid of gay people, I have friends who are gay.  I'm not afraid of Muslims, I have friends who are Muslim.  I don't hate people who have had abortions, I have several friends who have had abortions.  Here is the deal, if you are my friend, I like you simply because you are YOU I like that we can love each other whether we agree on things or not.  We can agree to disagree and STILL LIKE AND RESPECT EACH OTHER.

Guess what? I ate Chic-Fil-A for lunch today. Don't crucify me over it and don't high five me over it.  I like their food and I like that the customer service is supreme over any other fast food restaurant I've ever been to.  I ate there simply because if I'm going to spend my money, I want good food and fabulous service.  It wasn't political, it was that I work hard for my money and if I'm using it to eat out, I want an enjoyable experience.

I shop regularly at a small store where the owner has extremely different beliefs from religion to politics than I do.  You know why I continue to shop there?  I shop there because he runs his business with integrity and I know he will never screw me over.  He has great customer service and I always feel like he values my business.  I shop there because he is entitled to have beliefs that are different than mine.  That is why I love this country, because people are allowed to have their own ideas, their own beliefs.

Please stop telling me that because I am pro-life and not apologetic for that stance (see this post if you want to hear WHY I am pro-life and unashamed of that) that I am a hater.  Please stop telling me where I should and should not shop because you don't agree with their politics.  This goes for the Christians telling me that I should boycott businesses who support planned parenthood and it also goes for those telling me that I should boycott Chic-Fil-A because they don't support same sex marriage.

I'm shopping where I get treated well.  I'm shopping where I can get great customer service and quality products.  I don't care what the people selling believe, I care how they run their business.  I care how they treat their consumers and employees.  I love living in America because you are entitled to believe what you believe and I am entitled to believe what I believe. 

I love my friends because they bring joy and variety to my life.  I don't always agree with their viewpoints and yet I still love them.  If everyone agreed on everything it would be a very boring world.  And really how does judging anyone help anything?  Does calling me bigoted and uneducated bring us together?  The same goes in reverse.  Does name calling on the other side bring any unity either? 

Stop telling me what you are against and why I should also be against it.  Start telling me what you are for and why it means a lot to you.  I want to know what and why you believe, I do NOT want to hear why I'm wrong if I don't agree.  And then give me the same freedom to have my own thoughts and beliefs.  After all, isn't that why we live in America?

I love people.  I love people of every race, gender, age, size, political affiliation or religious beliefs.  Let me appreciate our differences and please do the same for me.  If we disagree, let's exercise our First Amendment rights and agree to disagree.  Name calling isn't going to solve anything!

Sorry, soapbox rant over. 

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