A Short Word: Choosing Barabbas

America has a serious problem, and, no, it actually isn’t the guy presently occupying the White House, though he is certainly a symptom of the problem. However, if we’re being honest, so was the guy before him, and the guy before that, and the guy before that.

These presidential jerks didn’t just traipse into the White House accidentally, after all. We voted for them, and, increasingly, Americans have been voting for these guys simply because of how angry they are at the guy that was in office before.

Trump got elected because his supporters were apoplectic at Obama. Obama got elected because his supporters were angry at Bush. Bush got elected because his supporters were irritated at Clinton. And Clinton… well, you get the idea by now.

It did not start with Donald Trump. He is a symptom, not the cause. He’s just capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years…
– Former President Barack Obama

Do Americans have the moral courage to do what is right and choose leaders who will refrain from antagonizing their fellow Americans on partisan grounds? No, apparently our moral cowardice is politically terminal. So what is there to do?

Unfortunately, from an electoral standpoint, there’s not much. The change has to start from the ground up at a cultural level. Until people believe that this sort of behavior is unacceptable in politics, it will continue to be accepted in politics.

One thing that needs to change is the confusing the freedom of speech as some sort of license to never shut up, listen, and try to understand the point of view of other people. The First Amendment isn’t permission to shout over everyone else.

So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?”
– Matthew 27:17

If we really believe our political rivals are literally our enemies, let’s just break out the guns and get the bloodbath over with. However, if we can look across the political divide and find something at all familiar, let’s take a deep breath and listen.

After all, the principle of reciprocal rights tells us that any right that we have that “they“, whoever “they” might be, must respect, “they” must therefor also possess that right and we must respect them. If we have a right to be heard, so does everyone else.

So, America, let’s get to hearing what each other has to say, so long as it’s sane, try to rediscover our common values, and stop trying to victimize one another rhetorically or politically. The people at the top aren’t going to change until we change ourselves.

 


Liberty is For The Win!

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