So let it be known, I am a Pulpist. I love OJ with pulp, the more the better, thick chewy pulp. So, label me a "Proud American Pulpist"! And now that I've admitted it I keep looking over my shoulder for Rat, the Guard Duck and Snuffles.
I did not coin this label, we can give credit to Stephan Pastis author of Pearls Before Swine. But the Pearls gang found a humorous way to raise a question I've been pondering for a while; " Must every issue in this country be divisive?" I find it disheartening that we've come to a period in time where every opinion, belief and conviction places you into a labeled group or sub-group making you a compatriot or a an antagonist.
It's destroying our political system; yes we have Republicans and Democrats but now we have progressives on both sides (does that make your rival a "regressive"?), a Tea Party, a Green Party, moderates, conservatives, neocons etc. We even have a "The Rent is Too Damn High Party" (look it up, it's true).
But it does not stop there? Christian, Muslim, Jew, Atheist Orthodox, conservative, moderate, liberal, reform, evangelical, heretic and charismatic (to name just a few). Oh, don't forget the pharisees among us. Pro-life, pro-choice, pro same-sex-marriage, pro traditional marriage. Evolutionist or creationist, and creationists even segment themselves into sub-groups: gap creationism, progressive creationism or evolutionary creationism. How about old earth or young earth. Are there "middle earthers"?
It goes on and on. But what is worse is how we use these labels to dismiss others and in some cases hurt them too. I once was having a conversation with someone and very early into the conversation he asked what I thought about same-sex marriage. Now this may not be such a strange question if we were discussing marriage, but we weren't. We were talking about faith and belief systems. So I asked him why that mattered, and he said "well, then I know what you believe". So, you are going to make a judgement about my belief system, label me and then either accept me or dismiss me based on that question. I told him it did not matter based on what we were talking about. He said it did and because I did not answer I must be "a liberal-Christian or not even a true believer at all"...his tone indicated that I was really a heretic with leprosy.
I know that is a rather benign example, but I think it makes the point. We have become such a divisive culture that we have lost the ability to listen to each other, to discuss real issues and find solutions or even get to know each other and appreciate the uniqueness of the world we live in. It has come down to this win/loose paradigm, and quite frankly that is not only sad and counter productive, but dangerous too.
So I guess what I am trying to say is we need to try to erase these labels and listen to each other. Next time you find yourself labeling someone (and if you are honest, you will and very soon too) stop and listen to what they have to say, ask about what they mean, have a discussion without expressing your opinion until asked. The world may be a better place for it and you might just learn something about yourself and someone else too.
That's just the take of a Proud American Pulpist! What say you?