A columnist in the London Guardian, writing under a psueodnym, asks:
Why is it that liberals feel no qualms about being rude? Far too many people who are perfectly polite and courteous, otherwise, think nothing of insulting you for not sharing their political opinions.
Pretty good question, is it not? He cites example after example. Here’s a couple:
Liberals have no shame. A dinner guest in our home stood up at the table, clinked his wine glass and said, “It shows how stupid the American people are, they voted for Bush twice.” He turned to me, smirking, and said, “I know you voted for him.” A biochemist who had been too busy learning liberal doctrine instead of the basic manners of being a guest.
We also had dinner with a couple who spent the evening trashing Rudy Giulliani, claiming that the former mayor of New York had nothing to do with turning the city around, even though he took office in a crime-ridden city and stepped down when it was safe. It would have happened anyhow, they said. As we said goodnight in the driveway, one said with a grin, “We like you even if you are Republicans.”
and he concludes:
President Nixon proposed a healthcare plan that was blocked by Senator Ted Kennedy, and the senator later apologized for putting political interests ahead of the good of the country. He had not wanted Republicans to get credit for accomplishing something positive.
This is a critical time in America. Instead of taking sides we should be working together. Now is the time for liberals to emulate Ted Kennedy and, instead of automatically ridiculing conservatives for digging into questions about Benghazi, the IRS and the seizure of press records, help us find the truth – no matter what that might turn out to be.
That conclusion shows what results from such an approach – it forces one to embrace corruption for political survival.
But let’s return to his opening question – WHY? Every rude liberal you know will have a different answer. Most you will find, I think, are deeply personal. “I and those like me have been oppressed…” – “Well, I was treated like this….” And there in lies the rub – the left makes the personal political and vice-versa. Such is a result of absenting religion from public discourse. There are two ways in which this is easily demonstrated.
For most who are serious about their faith, religion is a personal balm. It is a place where one takes one’s feelings and finds comfort and solace when the world is unjust. Much of the great sacred music of the last 200 years or so came out of the slave camps of the old south when the slaves turned to faith in their very real and very genuine oppression. The world is neither fair nor just. Religion teaches us that we are “sinners” and that as such we will always mess up. Faith teaches us how to cope with a world of sinners, we don;t always need to try and fix it.
Which leads me to the second way that religion helps. Faith allows us to see beyond ourselves and our needs. For example – it allows us to see a world of sinners, even if we are unable to confront our own sin. By acknowledging a greater power, usually the God of Christianity, we gain a perspective on a problem that allows us to understand that our own personal concerns, painful though they may be, are not the definitive issue in the problem.
A personal view of the political allows for rudeness. When it is personal, disagreement is not with ideas, but with the person holding the ideas. Thus disagreement is insult and rudeness seems a reasonable response to insult.
I have many stories of such rudeness that I could share as well. There is one thing I know – we can ill-afford to respond in kind. If we dip into the game of dismissal, insult and rudeness, tempting though it is in the face of the onslaught, then we are playing on their turf, not our own. But more importantly, to do so is to abandon the perspective that our faith gives us, and therefore in some sense to hold less of our faith. We lose when that happens.