Y’all aren’t going to want to hear this, especially from me. We liberals must undertake the seemingly paradoxical necessity to be more tolerant. But Chris, you ask, how does the political affiliation of open-mindedness go about being more tolerant?
We need to respect the “rednecks.” It is nothing short of hypocritical for us to fight to allow Muslim women to wear burquas and fight to ban those who display the confederate flag. We expect everyone to respect our opposition to Bush’s quagmire in Iraq, but God forbid some cowboy with a thick southern drawl has a political opinion. After all, he must be racist. And ignorant.
I grew up in a small town in rural north Texas full of Friday night football, southern accents and rednecks. Most of these people that own a confederate flag are not racist. In fact, not one of the 2000 citizens in my town is openly racist. Any time a vendor is selling confederate flags, he displays a large “Heritage, not hate” sign. Surprised? Is it so hard to fathom that there are actually people in this country who are proud to have southern roots and who don’t hate black people?
Maybe these people wouldn’t be so hostile to liberals if we would stop looking down upon their culture. In fact, with the right message, we might even win a few votes from the Deep South (just like Clinton, Carter, J.F.K., Stevenson, Truman and F.D.R., the liberal Democrat who got 98 percent in South Carolina). If I can get a city hall full of people cheering for the repeal of the USA PATRIOT act in Celina, Texas, it can and must be done.
That was what Howard Dean was getting at when he said, “I don’t want to win without the South. I’m going to go to the South, and I’m going to say to white guys who drive pick-up trucks with confederate flag decals on the back of their car, ‘We want your vote too, ’cause your kids don’t have health insurance either.'” Of course, some Democrats cried racism, and what was an honest attempt at tolerance and reaching out became a political liability among us liberals. Even if so-called rednecks continue to vote Republican and even if they let wedge issues take precedence, we, as liberals, must respect their way of life.
Whether you or I would like to admit it, the same goes with Republicans. You know they are wrong; I know they are wrong, but let me tell you, they aren’t wrong for speaking their views.
To the Republicans on campus, despite my pleas for tolerance among the left, I’d still quit walking around here with your damn stickers like you own the place. Half of the people aren’t going to read this, and half won’t buy it. Keep in mind, the Convocation Center voted 66 percent for Kerry. That makes you the super-minority beneath an extremely pissed off majority. Don’t get punched in the face for your arrogance.
Chris Fisher can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.