The world is not suffering from an overabundance of rational thought.
I say this at least once a week. If this sentiment was true prior to our last presidential election, it’s become more relevant by a factor of about 100, since. In fact, I was inspired to write a book about it.
Anyone who knows me, knows I don’t respect opinions. Let me caveat that. Of course, I respect everyone’s right to their opinion, but just the fact of expressing an opinion, doesn’t automatically grant that opinion some special dispensation from critique if it’s expressed around me. If your opinion has been formed using methods which lead you to conclude things that don’t comport with what is demonstrably true, then I will probably call you out on it.
For example, if you have opinions about vaccines not working, or global warming not being real, or the earth being only 6000 years old, or about all people of a certain skin tone being worthless, then I will take issue with you because you have come to conclusions which are factually incorrect, and in some cases, morally repugnant.
This is what Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham did to the President of the United States a few days ago. They held him accountable to his morally repugnant statement about people from Haiti and other African nations.
In a subsequent Facebook conversation I was having with a pro-Trump attorney, the attorney suggested that Durbin should have suspended his moral scruples in favor of getting an immigration “deal” done, because Durbin’s constituents are more important than his moral objections to Trump.
Never mind that that position complete absolves Trump from any responsibility for serving his constituents, the American people, in this case, but the line of questioning struck me as odd and frankly, a bit alarming.
I believe in speaking truth to power and holding all people accountable, irrespective of title or position, particularly if they are demonstrating irrational behavior or saying vile things. If the President of the United States wants to make “great deals” as he claims, perhaps Dick Durbin’s and Lindsey Graham’s vocal disgust will inform the president that he needs to adjust if he’s going to be taken seriously.
And to answer the attorney’s question, not only would Durbin’s and Graham’s constituents be better served by a more reasonable and compassionate President, but the entire nation would be better served as well.
In fact, who are any of us to remain silent in the presence of racism? The idea of suspending basic human decency in favor of political efficacy makes me wonder about the underlying morality of the trade-off the attorney was suggesting. In 1630, Puritan John Winthrop borrowed from Matthew 5:14 when he told his fellow Massachusetts Bay colonists, that this new community they had left England for, would be “as a city upon a hill”, watched by the world.
What do we want the world to see?