17 February 2009

Embarrassed or afraid?

Vjack's latest post is entitled "Embarrassed For Humanity." He links to several recent stories in the media, and as noted, they make one wonder what century we're living in. For me, I think this may be an argument for spending more time offline so I can read the local paper (oh, god, no!). The majority of my goof-off time online is spent following like-minded friends at twitter and facebook, or at atheist-, sex- or soccer-related blogs. I spent 14 years working for public defenders, an extremely liberal environment, and now I work from home. Yeah, I've been a little insulated from the red-state mentality. So it's shocking to see the faith-based ignorance and bigotry that people are happy to display in other communities.

Rachel Maddow had Alexandra Pelosi as a guest last week (after the ads, at 1:50). Pelosi just did a documentary while following the McCain-Palin campaign. The impression I got from the interview is that Pelosi tries to humanize the conservatives, not just create more fear of them. I don't have HBO so haven't seen the film yet. I want to, because I think I need to understand these people. Then maybe I'll learn to understand and tolerate people like, oh, I don't know, maybe starting with my parents. My own damn parents! They aren't just embarrassed for humanity. They're very afraid for, and of, people like me. People who don't share their values, where values = devout, pro-life Catholic. People like me are condemning the world to suffering now, and our souls to hell later. And they don't even know (for sure) that I am an atheist - it's sort of the "issue which must not be directly addressed", by mutual, unspoken agreement (Mom, Dad & Sister Christian are the only family I have NOT directly discussed my atheism with, but that's a topic for another time).

My folks are afraid of what Obama's administration will do to America. But like Pelosi pointed out in the Maddow interview, they are where me and my friends were from November 7, 2000 to November 4, 2008. And even then the passage of Proposition 8 limited our sense of joy and liberation. My parents focus their energy on pro-life causes, and Obama is "pro-death" for innocent unborn babies (oh, and they actively supported Prop 8, too). When considering our country's engagement in war on two fronts, the global economic crisis, accusations of torture, the cost of health care which directly affects their retired selves and their eight existing grandchildren - really? Unborn babies? How irrational is that?

I should not, but I do continue to be surprised by them and by their like-minded friends all over America. Even though they were always like this. And they ain't gonna change, so I gotta get used to it. Embarrassed for humanity, afraid of Americans, 'cause I live with them, even though I don't see them.

Whew, now I really do need goof-off time, guess I'll look for porn.

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