I don’t want to defend New York against Ted Cruz’s ignorant comments. What he said was more of a disservice to the rest of the country and conservatives.
For years politicians have been pitting one group against another. “We’re” better, smarter, more moral, more whatever than “them.” The result is this awful, adversarial us vs them world we’re in now. I’m not the first to point this out of course, I’m the billionth.
We have to stop taking the bait. I have conservative friends, and members of my family are conservative. I am very liberal. As far as I can tell, even though we live different lives, some are religious, some are more this or that, we all have pretty much the same values. We love our families and friends, we try to be good people, we try to make the world a better place, or, at the very least, not leave it in worst shape than when we got here.
We have to stop believing the stories they are telling us about the “other side,” and the stories they are telling us about us.
For instance, conservatives are often portrayed as intolerant. Some are, just as some liberals have the characteristics often associated with being liberal, but whether they/we do or they/we don’t is an individual failing and not characteristic of the group.
I’ll never forget after 9/11, and I was on the West Side Highway. It was maybe a week later, and the West Side Highway was closed off to all vehicles except rescue vehicles, which were mostly FDNY, NYPD, Sanitation and construction worker cars and trucks. Then up rolled truck after truck after truck from a Baptist church somewhere in the deep south. I wish I could remember the name of that church so I could give them a proper thank you, but I’m old and I’ve forgotten.
The trucks were filled with supplies for New York. The supplies weren’t for Baptist New Yorkers, or conservative New Yorkers, they were for whoever needed it. I’m sure those Baptists disagreed with a lot of New Yorkers about how we live or who we are, but they were here to help all of us, not just the people they agreed with. It was a true Christian response, and it never fails to make this non-Christian cry. I’m crying now. (Of course we got help from all over the country and the world. I’ve told my Nagasaki story, right?)
From time to time I get email and letters from people who want me to re-consider my agnosticism. But it’s never in a hostile, “You’re going to go to Hell” way. It’s more of a “I don’t want you to go to Hell” way.
Conservatives are no better or worse than anyone else, and liberals are no better or worse than anyone else. Each is capable of gestures of great beauty and decency. Each have days when we don’t listen to our better angels.
Ted Cruz biggest sin was not trying to portray us (New Yorkers and liberals) as immoral, gay money lovers, it was making conservatives look bad and hateful.
Ted Cruz doesn’t represent conservatives. He’s just a nasty, unpleasant, seriously un-Christian man. (See this Op-Ed about his actions towards Michael Wayne Haley.)
Again, we have to stop taking the bait. We have to stop letting them pit us against each-other. Being a good and decent and moral person are characteristics that are common to people from all different groups.
Let’s disagree all we want, but we must stop demonizing each other. It’s stupid and wrong.
I took this at Grace Church while waiting for Amahl and the Night Visitors to begin.