Friends and Relations, and the Necessity of Dissent.
In an insular and isolated community, social reinforcement mechanisms often become acute.
When one is in a minority, of some kind…be it religious, political or even ethnic/racial…one becomes keenly aware of this, and it takes a great deal of Courage to overcome such pressure, and speak one’s Truth.
When one’s minority status is of the political or religious variety, conflicts are bound to arise with friends and family, as well.
I am fortunate to have been born into a long line of Democrats and Left-Leaning individuals…not monolithically so…but in the main. Still, we have our share of conservatives, republicans and even Tea People.
This sometimes makes family relations uncomfortable…so I understand.
In this little town…in this Far Place…the majority seems to be rather Apathetic, when it comes to Politics.
The second largest group are those of a Republican Bent, in all it’s variation.
There is a small Minority, often forgotten, of folks who are neither…who are, instead Democrats…and who, whether they know it, or not, are on the Left of the spectrum…part of a Tradition of Liberalism, of Free Thought, stretching back to the very first European Settlers in this region.(Adelsverein) Nowadays, “Liberal” is most often heard in these parts as a slur…a pejorative.
This is due to a 40 year campaign of political Bullying.
That Bullying has become the Norm.
It can be found in classrooms, in church, at the grocery, at the café.
Letters to this paper are often filled with it, as are many of the regular columns.
It has become tacitly Acceptable Behaviour.
This, in it’s turn, has the effect of driving Dissenting Opinion into the shadows.
I know the pain of rejection.
I understand the reluctance to Engage in such situations…the Courage needed to stand up to Incivility, disguised as Political Speech.
What some folks fail to remember, or acknowledge, is that we are a Pluralist Country…from our very Foundation.
The First Amendment says so.
Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion…these strongly imply a Freedom of Conscience .; without the overarching Freedom of Conscience, of Thought, the First Amendment is Meaningless.
The Minority of One enjoys the same Protections, is Entitled to the Same Freedoms, and is Subject to the same Restrictions, as the member of the greatest majority.
Diversity is Strength.
Those in the Majority must learn to accept that they are enjoined to Share this Nation with those who Disagree. The USA is not their Private Preserve…it belongs to Us. All of Us.
Those in the embattled Minority must, on the other hand, endeavor to Stand Up, and Speak their Truth…Our Democratic, Republican form of Government demands the Courage to Dissent.
If such Courage is lacking, the Bullies win…and Political Freedom withers.
Use it ,or lose it.
Vox Clamantis,in Deserto,
Josef D. Pinter.