Hey, how ya doin? I hope you and the ladies on The View are doing great, although I must admit, I never watch your show. Nothing personal, it’s just that I work 1st shift, and while you’re on TV, I’m in a factory running a CNC machine making office furniture. It’s what I do. I am part of a group of people that still manufacture products here in the good ol’ US of A, which is probably surprising to you and your colleagues there in a TV studio in New York. We still make stuff in this country, and the factory I work in has black, white, Asian, male and female people working there. We work together to produce wood office furniture for the world. It’s good stuff. You might even have some in your office.
But that’s not why I am writing to you today. I’m writing to you today to talk about tolerance. I know, I know, tolerance can be used as a buzz word for the left, and most conservatives recoil at the word, but I want to use it in regard to a few comments you’ve made over the past couple of weeks. I was going to write to you last week, but you keep saying stuff that I don’t agree with, and I want to explain a few things to you, but you need to be quiet long enough for me to write this letter. You’ve been out of the news for a couple of days, so I’m starting this letter again. Hopefully, I’ll get it done this time.
First off, just to let you know, I’m a conservative Republican. Whoa, whoa, don’t delete me, don’t delete me, keep reading. I promise I’ll try to be fair to both sides of this thing we call politics. I know you are a liberal Democrat, and I’m totally fine with that. I’m not going to try to convince you my side is right, (even though I think it is), because too many people on social media think that whatever they post or whatever they write will somehow convince the other side that they are wrong. Like,”Wow, that meme with Homer Simpson has totally changed my mind on gun control.” It ain’t happening. I get it. But I would like to address a couple of things you said recently.
But before I do that, I want to give you a little background on me. I became politically active back in 1980. When I say politically active I mean this: I voted. I was 18 in ’80, fresh out of high school and a freshman at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I was excited to vote, because I had been kind of a political junkie my whole life. I went to rallies on campus, saw different candidates speak, and I was ready to vote. And this is who I voted for for president back in 1980.
John Anderson. (Independent)
Surprised? I know, right? Bet you didn’t see that one coming, Joy. Yep, back in 1980, I voted for a former liberal Republican, (there’s two words you don’t see together anymore) who ran against Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan as an independent. Me and 7% of the rest of the country voted for Anderson. And I felt really good about it. Now, we all know Reagan won and crushed Carter and everybody else that ran against him, but I voted for the guy I wanted. And if you think that me voting for a liberal was a one time thing, here are my next 3 votes for president.
1984. Walter (Fritz) Mondale. (Democrat)
1988. Michael Dukakis. (Democrat)
1992. William Clinton. (Democrat)
So, yeah, I was a true Democrat believer. And I was active. I marched and participated in a nuclear freeze rally in 1982. I listened to George McGovern give a speech at that rally, and thought,”Wow, why didn’t we elect this guy?”
(A quick veer off here, Joy. Did you know that McGovern flew B-24 Liberators out of Italy during World War II? Me neither! He flew the B-24, which was an incredibly difficult plane to fly, on 35 missions over Germany, Austria, Romania, and other countries occupied by the Nazis, dropping bombs on fuels refineries, ball bearing plants and marshaling yards to hinder the Axis war effort. He was a freaking war hero! Maybe they should have talked about that back in 1972. Of course, that would have probably cost him the anti-war hippie vote. Whoops, sorry, back to your letter.).
I’m not telling you about my political history to show that I have since converted to the “right”way of thinking.(See what I did there? Sorry, it was a joke.) No, I’m telling you this because back in the 80s when I was a card carrying liberal Democrat, I met and befriended two of my best friends in the world. One was my girlfriend at the time, who later became my wife, Holly. She was impressed with my intellect, my humor, my amazing good looks, and my overwhelming love for her. She was not impressed with my politics, because she was a staunch Republican, but it didn’t really matter because we loved each other. After we were married, and it was voting day, I would kid her that when she went out to vote in the morning, I would be going out in the afternoon to “cancel her vote.” She loved me anyway.
The other person I met in the eighties during my liberal stage was my friend Jim. Jim and I worked together in a little furniture shop, and we hit it off because of our mutual love for the Detroit Tigers, military history and the space program. He was also a staunch Republican, often referring to Reagan as “Emperor Ron” and we had many a debate after work drinking a few pitchers of beer and talking about what was right for the country. We disagreed often. But we were then, and still are now, great friends.
And that is really why I am writing you today, Joy. When you say things like,”Republicans offend you,” or you say that someone who hears the voice of God is mentally ill, here is what you are really doing. You aren’t just disagreeing with that persons political or religious views, you are marginalizing them as a person. What you are saying is that you don’t just disagree with them, but that their views make them worthless as human beings. And that’s where you go wrong. Because when that happens, when people are marginalized and put down and other people feel superior, that when people start to justify violence. And I’m sure you would agree with me that we don’t want that.
I am afflicted with a chronic and terminal illness. I write a blog about it that has literally been seen all over the world. (Ok, sorry for the humble brag.) I have received comments of support, and prayers of support from all over. Frankly, I don’t care if the people that support me are Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal, Christian, or Muslim, or atheist. I just appreciate the fact that they are thinking about me, or praying for me. It is a humbling and awesome experience. I have friends that are from all over the political and religious spectrum. Heck, I even have friends that are Spartan fans. (Go Blue!). They care about me as a person, not as a political or religious being.
I hope you will read this letter and think about that even though politics and religion and other stuff may divide us, we are all really just people who want to get along with each other and matter to each other. If we can do that, then maybe our differences won’t divide us quite as much. And maybe then we can work together on solving the issues that keep us apart.
Thanks for reading.