When I was a high school student in the year 2004, I sat next to a young woman in Math Class who was a devoted member of the Apostolic Church, a branch of fundamentalist christianity. One day, as we were waiting to be educated, she informed me that she would never drink alcohol, even when she was 21 and legally allowed because all who drank alcohol would "go to hell."
I asked, mistakenly, "Didn't Jesus turn water into wine?"
She responded: "It wasn't wine, it was simply grape juice."
I said "If the Bible is the literal word of God, why would he be so confusing?"
She then began to sob.
The math teacher than gave me a detention for "making fun of her religion."
That was in a small town in rural Ohio.
However, things haven't changed that much. Below is my recent conversation with an old college friend via facebook. This 'friend' has recently been proclaiming herself to be a supporter of the Tea Party Movement.
As this movement is currently abolishing the right to collective bargaining, seeking to destroy medicare and social security, and doing things I am fully aware she disagrees with, I simply wanted to discuss it with her.
The following conversation ensued.
Erich Fromm's work "Fear of Freedom" seems highly relevant. This friend was unwilling to go beyond reciting a few slogans, as she supports a very violent and extreme political movement.
It is one thing to have political opinions. It is quite another to go about spouting talking points, and then accuse anyone who wishes to engage with you of bullying.
The reason the right-wing is so strong in the U.S., is because there are millions of children who grow up home schooled, never exposed to leftist political thought, and terribly, terribly afraid of engaging with it, because all their life they have been taught it is "Satan."
If every time I was confronted with Anti-Communism I simply accused the Anti-Communist of "bullying me", I would be laughed at.
However, in rightist discourse, any exposure to leftist views is "persecution" for the right-wing. That is why the call to purge college campuses of "radical professors", and the demand for mandatory prayer in public schools has so much merit.
You can see how ----- accuses me of "violating her rights" by trying to engage with her about why she supports the Tea Party movement.
To her, any questioning of her beliefs or comments that force her to reconsider them is "oppression."
-Caleb T. Maupin
You mentioned that you oppose government spending, and that this is why you support the Tea Party.
This does not logically add up.
Less than %1 of the budget goes to help poor people with welfare.
The military budget is a huge part of government spending. Why don't you go and protest Obama's new war in Libya and Bush's Iraq and Afghanistan things? They Cost a lot of money.
The U.S. has thousands of troops in other countries, just sitting there.
There is a whole fleet of navy ships patrolling Latin America to intimidate the people there who are embracing socialism.
The U.S. also has AFRICOM in Africa, with troops threatened governments there.
The U.S. gives billions to the government of Uganda where they are trying to implement the death penalty for gay people.
Where is the Tea Party on all of this?
Legalizing drugs would end 90% of the money spent on prisons. (Though, this is mostly at the state level.)
The federal highway system is the biggest waste of money ever. We used to have trains all across the U.S., but the oil companies bought the railroads, tore them up, and then bribed congress to build highways.
Let's build high-speed rails.
Let's end subsidies for oil companies and banks.
These are all things the Tea Party doesn't focus on.
The Tea Party focuses on a racist lie, that the "debt" and "spending" is all just going to poor people who "don't want to work."
This is just objectively not true.
Right now, all across Ohio, teachers are being laid off by a Tea Party governor who hates "spending" on education.
Even though my parents and I have paid into social security our entire lives, now the "Tea Party" wants to take that away.
Under the guise of Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, and Ron Paul's "Free Market" non-sense, they are creating a slave labor capitalism for the rich.
The Tea Party doesn't represent you.
You don't have to be a Communist/Socialist to see this.
These people are looking to destroy the future of our generation.
Don't be duped.
I must ask a favor. Let me make my own political decisions. I'm moving toward Libertarianism faster than you can say Karl Marx, and I came to that conclusion of my own ability. I do my own research and find my own reasons. I appreciate that you are so resplendent in your political knowledge, but please do not attempt to administer to me any longer. Thank you.
If you are making your own political decisions, why can't you defend them?
If I am so dead wrong, why can't you refute my points.
I'm not telling you what to do. I am simply begging you to look at certain facts.
Why can you simply not engage with me?
Being a human being is about struggling to find truth. Perhaps I am wrong. Tell me why.
If you really believe in what you are saying, you'll have reasons for it, and furthermore you'll want to win me to those reasons.
Politics is not a dinner party.
You've happily reminded me on numerous occasions about the reality of Hitler's regime.
Would it be correct for someone in 1933 to say "I support Hitler."
And then when you told them about the horrors of his so-called "National Socialism" to just say:
"------, I make my own decisions."
Politics, especially in a Democratic system where people have the ability to vote and exercise free speech, has serious consequences.
I personally have always been fascinated by politics, because I want to be on the side of right in the world.
I think my politics are right.
You think I am wrong.
Let's struggle to find the truth.
This is not religion where its a matter of faith. These matters affect everyone's daily lives.
"Let me make my own political decisions."
That is what I want you to do!
I don't think you are currently doing that.
The fact you are resisting discussion beyond repeating a few cliches that don't even make sense shows you aren't making your own decisions.
Christians are always happy to witness to me on the street about why I should give my life to Jesus.
Anarchists are always willing to engage me about the need for a "stateless world."
Many of the libertarians I have known in the past are happy to tell what they believe.
But you can only toss me cliches and words.
You are full of compassion and concern for others.
You are a supporter of Lesbian and Gay People's Human Rights.
You cannot even tell me what the "socialist values" I allegedly believe in are!
How can you say you are making "your own decisions."
I don't want to make any decisions for you.
I just don't want fear of struggling for truth to allow you to blindly support things you clearly disagree with.
Caleb, what you don't understand is that I don't wish to engage with you. I find debating with you pointless, boring and anachronistic. Perhaps in high school I might have wished to listen to you and debate, but what you don't understand is that as an adult I'm flexing my right to my beliefs.
Your constant inability to let me be in the political field has led me to the decision that you and I can no longer remain in any type of contact. You cannot understand that I do not want a debate and deliberately attempt to engage me by spitting phrases meant to inflame my sense of anarchy, which I assure you, is low and sparks few embers. After this message, any contact from you will no longer reach me. I wish to be left alone politically, and I hope you may understand that.
Take care, and good luck trying to get others to see your points.