My husband, Al, is Chairman of the Republican Party in Butler County, Pennsylvania. I am Vice Chair. What do you think of that?
In many circles, our allegiance to the Republican Party is greeted with an embarrassed silence. In others, with veiled hostility and disgust … but in Butler County, we are welcome! Even so, I was actually glad that the political control of the U.S. House and Senate is now divided, because I had a trip scheduled to Los Angeles, CA and Tucson, AZ the weekend following the election, and I dreaded the thought of discussing politics, or avoiding the subject, with my family and friends.
My family and friends. There seems to be an assumption that everyone agrees with the protests and media attacks on the state of our country since the 2016 Presidential election. There is another country out there, whether people know it or not, but I know better than to state my views freely with many people I have always considered “friends”, within and outside the New Church. Their friendships are too important to me.
It has, and it has not, always been this way. In my lifetime, I have seen the conflicts among friends and family over racial desegregation, popular music, long hair, flower children, the Vietnam War, Kent State, President Nixon’s threatened impeachment, and President Clinton’s impeachment. In spite of the turmoil, it seemed that there was always room for social rectitude and polite conversation among friends.
The erosion of polite conversation has been gradual. Unlike the simple gesture of a woman showing her ankle a hundred years ago, that might register shock in those days, the use of street language in ordinary conversation no longer registers shock today. It is now a part of common discourse, even in professional settings. There are even abbreviations, used widely in digital messages, for words that used to be considered sacred language, like “OMG”, and street language, like “WTF”.
This is what I think I dread. Not an honest exchange of ideas, but the name calling and assumption of beliefs that I may or may not hold because of my political “label”. And so, in this rabid world of social discourse, I suppress my deeply felt concern and reason for my political activity: the legal assault on defenseless babies in the womb. Thousands of these babies die every day without being included in the death tolls of our national fatality statistics. I think the media today would register more shock over the destruction of a single eagle’s egg, in a monitored nest, than they do over the destruction a baby in the womb, being monitored and cared for by the highest angels in Heaven … actually four thousand babies a day.
If confronted with “How could you …?”, in regard to my political activity (and believe me, I have been confronted), I will answer, but I don’t invite conflict in social settings. But that is why I am politically active. And that is why I volunteer my time to elect Republican candidates to public office – our best shot at overturning Roe V. Wade, the worst US Supreme Court decision since the Dred Scott decision that legally defined enslaved people in the South as the property of their slave owners, with no inalienable Right to Liberty as defined in our Constitution. Roe v. Wade defines a newly created child in the womb as the property of the mother, with no inalienable Right to Life, as defined in our Constitution. Make no mistake about it, much of the frantic conflict in our country today is over the prospect of Roe V. Wade being overturned – as it should be, as a matter of law.
When the conflict over slavery swept our land in the 19th Century, Abraham Lincoln expressed his frustration about the social barriers to speaking openly about slavery. He stated that we cannot speak of slavery in our churches because it is considered a political issue, and we cannot speak of slavery in the political world, because it is considered a religious issue, we cannot speak of it in the North, because slavery is illegal there and we cannot speak of it in the South, because it is legal there. So, he questioned, “Where do we speak of this grave issue?”
And so, here I am, writing for a religious “blog” about a political issue that is deeply spiritual for me. A “calling”. In response to this calling, I joined marchers of every faith in the annual March for Life for over 20 years, bringing young people along to expose them to the issue, carrying a sign, “Swedenborgians for Life”! I wrote a monthly “Community Column” for our local newspaper for eight years, just to be allowed to write about the abortion issue once a year. I submitted articles to publications, including the Sons of the Academy Bulletin and the Theta Alpha Journal, and letters to the editor.
And every year, as a Republican Committeewoman, I stand at the polls handing out cards and speaking to voters about the candidates running for our local, state and national offices. In November 2016, I knew that there was some unease about the choice for President, so I stood with a badge stating “A Republican Vote is a Pro-life Vote. Vote Republican.” The turnout was unprecedented, and the Republican candidates for President and Vice President won every precinct in Butler County. 100%. Western Pennsylvania turned the vote for Pennsylvania, and hence, the nation.
So now, my husband and I are serving as Chairman and Vice Chair of the Republican Party of Butler County. We are proud to have a chance to make a difference. We both know that in this fight to restore protection to the unborn, we can’t stand idly by. We have to do something.
2 thoughts on “Polite Conversation In a Rabid World”
Thank you for your thoughtful post. This divisiveness which now seems at the core of our society is something that causes me pain and sadness. It is everywhere, not only in politics. I see in lower level things, such as how we chose to eat or dress, to our local senior therapy pool, to our local animal rescue organization, to politics and even more sadly in our local and central church organizations. My way of dealing with it, has been to remove my self from these organizations when things get ugly. If people are not going to act civilly to each other, I leave. Sadly, my world is shrinking because it is everywhere. Treating others with kindness and respect, sadly gone by the wayside.
Thank you Trish for your many many years of Pro-Life work. I am deeply disturbed by the disconnect I see in some younger women relatives of mine. They are happily married and revel in their children. They support with love and enthusiasm a friend whose very premature baby has beat the odds and is doing well. At the same time they promote and argue for the right to unlimited abortion. This seems to be a prevalent viewpoint. Any thoughts on this?
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