An Open Letter to My Conservative Friends

Dear Friend,

 

Before I get too far into this, I just want to make it absolutely clear that everything I’m saying is sincere and is meant with the best of intentions.  I have a history of making sarcastic, often mean-spirited posts about the practices of the Republican Party.  In recent days I’ve tried to change that, and I hope the readers of this post will recognize my change of tact and see this post for what it is supposed to be.  I mean no insult, and I certainly am not trying to gloat or rub any salt into any wounds.

 

Over the past couple of days, I’ve noticed some high tensions in my Conservative friends.  I just want to say that I genuinely feel for you.  I know what it’s like to have supported the losing ticket.  I know how bad it sucks when you pour all of your governmental passion into a candidate, you’ve fought to have his/her message heard, and you’ve maybe even PRAYED that they’d win, and then your candidate loses.  I know what it’s like to have the majority of the country tell you you’re wrong.  Shoot…I have that pretty much every day where I work, being a Liberal among a 99% Conservative staff.  I get it.  It sucks.

 

I am not going to say that I feel bad that Obama won.  In all honesty, I feel great about that.  But I really wish you, my friends, didn’t have to go through it.  Most of you don’t deserve it.  Most of you are good people who just wanted your candidate to win.  You weren’t the ones shouting “terrorist” or “off with his head.”  You weren’t the ones intentionally misspelling Barack’s last name with a “s” instead of a “b.”  You weren’t the ones slinging mud and tearing down campaign posters in people’s yards.  The people who did that stuff deserve to feel how they do — but the rest of you don’t.

 

I apologize for those in my party who are making your life a living Hell right now.  I know what that’s like, too.  It’s rude, it’s unsportsmenlike, and frankly it’s unpatriotic.  Mr. McCain’s consession speech was a WONDERFUL speech.  I really wish my party would have listened to it and taken it to heart.  He was kind, supportive, and forward-looking.  He didn’t try to rally the troops behind himself or his party; he tried to rally people behind the next President.  It was WAY more generous than I ever expected.  I wish my own party was being as kind to you in victory as Mr. McCain was to US in defeat.

 

That, however, is a two-sided coin.  By the same token that I wish my party had listened to Mr. McCain’s words, I also wish some members of YOUR party had done so, too.  There are some who are being just as crappy to those of us in the Democratic Party as our crazies are being to them.  Look, maybe for my past blogging sins, I deserve some of it…but I’m getting it from complete strangers who I KNOW have never stumbled upon my blog.  You don’t get to do that, and neither do we.  Things already SUCK in this nation, and we shouldn’t be making it suck more now by saying and doing the things we’re doing.

 

As a concession to all of that, my Obama sticker’s coming off my car on Tuesday (I think a week of celebration is still fair-play).  My avatar on Facebook has already been switched to a picture of ME instead of the Obama “HOPE” poster.  I’m trying to build bridges with my Republican colleagues.  I’m not bringing it up in conversation with people that I know voted for Senator McCain — though if people ask me DIRECTLY about it, I will express my satisfaction, hopefully respectfully.  I am not on the attack, nor do I feel the need to defend the victory, since there was nothing shady or weird about it.

 

I will say that there’s one aspect of what I’ve seen in my experience that genuinely bugs me, and that I think is entirely unacceptable.  There are those among my Christian brethren and sistren (which I know isn’t a word) who are invoking the name of God in a way as to win arguments, post-election.  I’ve been involved in a recent conversation where I witnessed someone I used to respect as a Christian leader berate someone else based on their voting.  The man said things that questioned the other person’s racial integrity, moral compass, and even their salvation.  To make matters worse, the person who was berated was a student and the man doing the damage was a professor.  I have not yet decided if it is more appropriate to confront this man or to simply go directly to my boss and the administration of the school.

 

Friends…you don’t get to do things like that.  You don’t get to abuse your power.  You don’t get to hurt people.  And (pardon the contradiction of words/thoughts) you DAMN sure don’t get to invoke the name of Yahweh-God to demean someone who just feels differently about health-care than you do.  That has to stop.  I am as yet unexposed to the Liberals doing similar things, but I’m sure it’s happening.  That isn’t right either.

 

On Tuesday night, for the first time in months, Senator McCain and Senator/President-Elect Obama had a similar message.  They both spoke of unity.  They both spoke of hope.  They both spoke of a better tomorrow.  They both, in fact, promised to work together with their colleagues of both parties to try to dig this country out of the hole it’s in.  I hope those weren’t just empty words to either of them.  I also hope those words can somehow find resonance with us all as we work toward a better America.

 

I have much hope with Obama in office.  Even the most Conservative people I know recognize the historical significance of Mr. Obama’s win and see it as, if nothing else, a major good sign of how far this country has come from a racial perspective.  Personally, I think it goes deeper than that, and that this isn’t just a symbolic win.  I think the country and the WORLD is going to change for the better.  I just hope those of us who are living amongst each other — especially those of us in the church — can embrace the goodness and end the hatred that has been so prevalent in recent days.

 

Thank you for listening, and I genuinely hope these next four to eight years are not as terrible on you as many in my party feel the previous ones were on us.  I hope you prosper and find good things in the changing times to come.  I also hope members of my own party, alongside yours will realize that change is not automatic, problems do not disappear overnight, and prosperity doesn’t happen without first having to sacrifice.

 

Good luck to all of us.  God bless America.  And all that.

 

-Derek