Thursday, June 4, 2009


Remember learning about McCarthyism in school?

No. It has nothing to do with Charlie McCarthy. He was amusing.

Joe McCarthy. He wasn't. Whether you think he is the most evil American of the twentieth century, or a prophet we ought to have listened to better, you have to admit, he isn't very funny. His name has coined a phrase with a scary meaning indeed: McCarthyism. Both sides of the political debate are resorting to extreme accusations, and it scares the living daylights out of me. I have read comparisons of Bush to Hitler and Obama to the anti-Christ. I have argued with extremists on both ends. I am scared and tired. I can't argue any more.
Yesterday I wrote a post about a dear teacher, and how she suffered more than I ever could have guessed from the joyful countenance she had dealing with angst ridden teens. I marveled at how she could be compassionate to the problems of the spoiled, whiny teenagers I and my friends were, when she as a girl suffered during the Holocaust. I don't know how or why this invited an anonymous commenter to spout on about evil Republicans. I really don't. What I do know is that I don't have the energy to argue with extremists.
I am not angry at anonymous. I have ranted on blogs myself at times. I just choose to leave my name and URL and stand behind my words. I have felt this fear for many months, and anonymous has merely brought the boil in my mind to a head, and I feel the need to burst it. Yes, this boil has been growing since before the election even. We have in this country conservatives crying out "SOCIALIST!" at our President, and liberals calling out "TERRORIST!" to returning veterans and activists in the pro-life movement, and I am becoming worried that this war of words is going to destroy our nation.
Words have power to inspire not only good, but evil as well. I am thinking of Marx's (Karl, not Groucho) Communist Manifesto, and the eventual slaughter of millions of Russians and other Slavonic peoples, as well as dissidents in China. I am thinking of Mein Kampf, and the millions of slaughtered Jews, gypsies, slavs....Even The Holy Bible (Thou Shalt not suffer a witch to live) has been held responsible for the Salem Witchcraft Trials (I don't question the inerrancy of scripture, but the manner in which humans interpret and carry out it's teaching).

Words. They are so powerful. They incite action. For real, not just my little KFC joke from weeks ago, but real hate which eventually causes real violence. I don't have the energy or the wisdom to fight the battle to prevent an actual battle.
I am weary of the vehement hatred on both sides. I long for peace between political parties before something really bad happens...something that tears us further apart. There are good, idealistic democrats. There are good, idealistic republicans. I feel a bit like Rodney King..."Why can't we all just get along...?" Why can't we?

Anonymous, if you have something heartfelt to share about the TOPIC on any of my posts, feel free. If you don't feel comfortable enough in our little community here to identify yourself, I get that. I used to be shy myself. But if you are going to get all extremist on me, and it has nothing to do with my post, back up your words with your identity, or I will delete your comment. As I have repeatedly said today, I don't have the energy or desire to argue. I want to make peace, and I don't know how.

James 3:17-18 (New International Version)
17But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

We need both sides to accomplish that, don't we?

Now, please excuse me. The naive school girl in me has some daisies she neglected skipping through this morning, and has to go....


jasonS said...

Very well said, Helen. There is life and death in the power of the tongue and we have no excuse or right to spout off whatever we want, no matter whether we think we're right or wrong. Good stuff!

Steph @Red Clay Diaries said...

I like you you handled this Helen.

And thanks for clarifying the Groucho vs Karl question for me. ;)

Now I hope you enjoyed your daisy-skipping. You deserved it.

Billy Coffey said...

This post has confirmed a long-held suspicion that I should never, ever make you mad at me.

But you handled things with grace, Helen. Much better than I would have.

Words are indeed powerful things. Maybe the most powerful. And that is exactly why I never talk.

Candace Jean July 16 said...

You're awesome Helen. Anonymous just got schooled.

Helen said...

Jason, thank you. Sometimes I get caught up in the rhetoric, but I don't want to be. We need to remember we are talking to people about people.
Steph. Thanks. I always find it helpful to explain that Karl Marx was not funny...No, not one of the Marx Brothers...well, he may have had a brother, I don't know, but it wasn't Groucho.
Billy, if anyone chooses words carefully, it is you. You are an artist with words. You are to words what katdish is to paint.
Candy, thank you. I hope Anonymous comes back under an identity, and recognizes the power of words. I forgot to mention that loving words have power, too.
Matthew 9:22 Jesus turned and saw her. "Take heart, daughter," he said, "your faith has healed you." And the woman was healed from that moment.
Our anonymous is obviously hurting, as is our nation. I hope he, and all, are healed.

Wendy said...

Big, red monkey butts to you Helen! And you know I mean that in the best possible way. :o)

Beth said...

And this is once again why....Helen rocks! Very smart post. Thanks for the reminder about how powerful our words are. That's one of those things we need to hear 896 times a day. :)

Gabrielle Eden said...

You've just been "spoiled" Helen. You haven't gotten any negative comments before, I take it.

Welcome to the real world!!

Don't let it bother you.

There's always comment moderation. That's what I have. How do you know when someone leaves a comment on a much earlier post, anyway? That's the only way you would know, that's one of the reasons I like it.

CM said...

I've been thinking about topics like this a lot. I have some very strong opinions about stuff, but I recently heard someone talk about how we have to fight something that the other "side" was doing, and I got tired. It would be great if we could stop looking at the world as "us" and "them". I would so love to have a decent discussion with "them" and find some common ground. Then maybe we could have some constructive discussion about the things that we disagree on. Perhaps we wouldn't agree on anything when it was all said and done, but I think that we would be better off to realize the areas of validity about what other people are saying rather than perpetuating stereotypes about "them" and about ourselves at the same time. We're all in this together!

Yes, there are little fluffy clouds and sparkly rainbows in my world. Why do you ask?

Helen said...

CM, I hear you. That's what I am feeling, too.
As for your world, are there daisies. I need to romp in fields of daisies...
Gabrielle, it really isn't just the comment. It is political talk at parties, on the radio, rhetoric on t.v. I feel bombarded with propaganda from both sides rather than educated.
Oh, and comments go directly to my email, even without comment moderation. katdish showed me this is possible.
Beth, thanks. I need to be careful, too, to hold my tongue when I want to speak in anger (should've watched that yesterday on fottsp, huh?) and come from a place of love in my heart.
Wendy, and I big red monkey butt heart you, too, friend!