My folks raised me to always have empathy for those who had less then I did and they put their words into actions. Every Sunday was canning day and the women in my home would spend much of the day in the kitchen canning peaches, strawberries, beans and spinach. When they were finished, we would all get in the car and deliver them to people who had less than us.
I never heard them say or even suggest that those people were in the situation they were in because of a self-imposed deficit on their character. In fact, why they had less than us was never brought up. They did and it was the duty and obligation of those who had more to help them out.
As I grew older, I eventually discovered that my folks did what they did because of biblical directives. The Bible is full of admonitions to help those who are less fortunate than us and because my family was Bible-driven, they were simply doing what God had instructed them to do.
The message, not the reason, stayed with me and my wife and I raised our boys to be the same way. That's why I'm a Democrat and they are too. We believe we have a moral obligation to help those people who can't help themselves, regardless of the reason.
This message won't resonate well in this part of the country because there aren't many Democrats around. I wrote in this column well over a year ago that I was through writing about politics because of the deep feelings it exposed. I'm breaking that promise today after having watched both political conventions and reading the reactions to them in the social media.
It seems like we could put our political leanings on hold for a little while and think rationally and logically about the choices we have coming up in November but I know we can't. We're hardened by the twenty four hour a day news cycle in which we listen only to those programs and commentators that play to our biases and perspectives.
Because of that, I've read more hateful, vitriolic, and offensive commentaries leading up to this election than any election I've been around for previously. I think I understand the reason for that. If you looked at the people attending both conventions, there was a sharp and obvious contrast. Most of the Republican delegates were white while the Democrats looked like the nation we're becoming. Whites make up 71 percent of the American population, the lowest percentage ever, and the experts say that number will continue to decline. The face of America is changing and someday in the not-too-distant future, the dominant face will become a minority face and that's hard for many people to live with.
This is the thing that puzzles me. What difference does it make what the face looks like as long as they're our brothers and sisters? Americans are Americans, regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual preference. Most people of both parties still want America to be great and they do what they can do to insure that we stay great. I don't know of any Democrats who wish to tear America down. The Democrats I know in McCook are hard-working people who love this country as much as anybody else does. We just disagree on how it's to be governed and what our priorities should be.
But those disagreements should not produce the discontent and warfare that has erupted and endured since Barack Obama was elected President. We should acknowledge our differences, emphasize our commonalities and work together to keep America safe and strong.
I'm not a bad person just because I'm a Democrat. I don't deserve the looks and the words I receive just because I'm going to vote for the other guy on election day. I've always loved America and have never had any desire to live anywhere else but here.
I was raised to hate the sin but love the sinner. Regardless of who we think the sinners are in today's world, that's still a pretty good admonition to live by.