As I counsel leaders and speak throughout the nation, I urge thoughtful people not to overreact to the political polemics and nonsensical diatribes that fill the 24/7 media space. It is really difficult to exercise patience and respond graciously to the follies that infect the airwaves and the web. In recent weeks, there are allegations and assertions that unveil the mental anarchy of our age and the childish communication that masquerades as civil discourse. Here are a few of the inanities we must endure in our 21st century Age of Solipsism (Create your own reality!):
The President of Chick-Fil-A affirms his belief in traditional marriage. There is no evidence of any discrimination in the company's hiring practices and no harsh words for those that choose other lifestyles. This simple assertion of moral conscience unleashed a firestorm of venomous attacks as the kindest CEO in the country is now portrayed as a homophobe and even the Muppets are breaking ties with the company's efforts to feed the hungry.
The hyprocricy of these "progressives" is clear. It is fine to bash Christians. It is OK to excoriate defenders of traditional marriage - as long as they are not Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu or any other non-western culture! African-American pastors that oppose Obama on marriage are ignored or called "oreo cookies." If a conservative criticizes the Muslim Brotherhood or CAIR, she must be racist, xenophobic, ignorant or a victim of an all-powerful Jewish lobby. Passionate disagreement is fine - part of our American heritage. Character assassination and prejudice toward traditional folks is not noble. It is petty and exposes ignorance and laziness. It is easier to repeat talking points than do original research.
Michelle Bachmann and other congressional leaders are expressing concern about the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical groups upon the current Administration. The reaction? Even well-meaning Republicans excoriate this call for inquiry, worried that they will be perceived as intolerant.
The only intolerance in this drama is from Keith Ellison and others that cannot abide honest scrutiny of their real agendas. The Muslim Brotherhood and its radical partners are dedicated to the destruction of Israel and the subversion of western democracy. These values are in their public documents and no amount of "hope and change" wishful thinking will alter the facts. When a major Muslim leader unequivocally affirms full freedom and plurality of perspectives and expresses admiration for the US Constitution and the right of Israel to exist securely in recognized borders - THEN I will believe what they say, but not before.
Language matters. Israel's control of "occupied territories" will end with real peace initiatives. Nobel Peace Prizes have been subverted by terrorists that refuse to give up their dream of Israel's annihilation. "Right of return" is absurd for millions of descendants of the original half-million Palestinians displaced by the 1948 war. More than half of these original refugees were deceived by Islamicist propaganda and unnecessarily left their villages. Many of their Arab relatives are full citizens in Israel - the only real democracy in the region.
There will be peace in the Middle East when Palestinian leaders fully recognize Israel's legitimacy, reject violence and share resources to build a new Palestine. Israel is a moral good for the world, a beacon of hope and redemption and a source of creativity and innovation. Can anyone name any new ideas, technologies or scientific breakthroughs emanating from Islamicist states? it is sad to see lands that were once home to thriving civilizations become enslaved to fatalistc, misogynist ideology.
We need a return to reason, a revival of reflection and a renewal of responsibility. It is time to exit this matinee of the theater of the absurd and enjoy the daylight of honesty, integrity and the sincere pursuit of truth. There are legitimate debates we need to have on medical care, infrastructure, military spending and deployments, public pensions and many other issues. People of conscience and faith can radically disagree (think William Jennings Bryan and William McKinley) yet still forge solutions that create a better future. We do need effective federal oversight of many things while retaing gretaer power locally. Real progree is possible when we bring humility and openness to the table and leave the sound bites behind.