By Art Lynch
Fear, hate, prejudice and on the opposite side stereotypes of home, family, patriotism and faith are becoming the foundation of what passes as discourse, or discussion. We use words like "liberal", "conservative", "God", "patriotic" as if they had one meaning, and then only the meaning we want other people to believe. We use these, and other words, as a security blanket, so help us feel comfortable and sure of ourselves and our beliefs.
Meanwhile whether or not your are a "patriot" is measured by whether or not you agree with a war, the Tea Party, served in the military or voted for this or that politician? Is that what being a patriot really is and is there a measure to say how patriotic you are or are not?
Do you believe that the people, as in "we the people", should take care of the least of our brothers and sisters, and help each other raise that barn or overcome the times when the crops dry up and jobs are lost? If you do the "L" word is branded to your forehead and you are seen as an enemy of those who feel that we should all "bootstrap" and take care of ourselves.
Are people who cover their face, have darker skin, worship God in a different way to be trusted? Or are they an enemy, either real or potential, until they are converted to what you are, wear western designer clothing and drive nice American cars?
If someone knocks at your door asking for help, are they the scout for someone who is going to rob you or someone who might benefit from you opening your door, sharing even the last of your food with and welcoming into your heart?
Are people who do not fit your social image of marriage, or family, or other preferences a threat to your home, neighborhood and community? Or are they a threat to the fabric of your beliefs and in being so an enemy of your god, community, neighborhood and family?
Realize that from a communication point of view, our society is rapidly moving from long form details, in depth investigation and strong listening skills to short slogans and headlines, personality based decisions and rejecting those who disagree with "us" without even hearing them through.
Political advertising, "news" coverage and stomp speeches are the easiest to study to see which direction America is going. But you can also look at the coverage of Apple, Microsoft, Google and other tech companies where Americans have developed almost cult like loyalty one way or another. Do we cheer when Apple makes a misstep, or Microsoft programming is found to have flaw?
We allow our comfort zone, and the ideas and beliefs of those around us, to become the reality and those that question our "zone" the enemy, or at least the "ignorant" heathens who need to be "converted".