One person I have often considered "special" in my life was a particular doctor whose services I've used for more years than I care to remember. Not the kind of friend where we are close enough to visit each other at home, but more as a special professional acquaintance who was always there when needed.
In dealing with friends like this I make a special effort to keep topics away from the controversial stuff like politics and religion. As an agnostic, it was never of any importance to me that my doctor friend was a born again Christian and quite proud of that fact. It didn't trouble me when my appointment was delayed so that "Doc" could close the door and pray with another patient whose wife had been diagnosed with cancer. That person too was his friend, probably a closer one than me. I was more troubled by the National Rifle Association's magazine featured in his office along with the other reading material. But, it was never a big deal.
Today the "big deal" arrived. When I got home after an office visit I found a letter attached to my billing statement. The letter was addressed "Dearest American Patriot." Perhaps it says more about me than the good doctor, but that opening caption offended me. I consider myself an American. A good American. I don't consider myself a patriot. The designation bothers me because people who seem to claim that title for themselves often appear to see themselves as being a better American than everyone else.
The letter includes recycled anti-Obama right wing bullet points. "He (Obama) has surrounded himself with worthless fools drinking his coolaid." It continues "I will never bow to socialism, how about you?" Americans do not want another Russia, China, Cuba, etc? (note: incorrect spelling and grammar in original)
The letter goes on to list what it calls "A Few Of Obama's Accomplishments."
Came in broke, going out a millionaire
Gas Prices Doubled He Wont Drill He'd Rather By From The Brotherhood
Job, What's That? He Doesn't Know Because He Never Had A Job
The letter is signed with a first name (not my doctor's) under which appears the title "A Veteran, A Patriot, A Natural Born Citizen"
To say this is troubling is an understatement. To say I am mad as hell is closer to reality. The shocking part is that if my doctor wanted to oppose President Obama why didn't he write his own letter? Why did he recycle an illiterate diatribe produced by someone who couldn't spell? Is the author of this the type of person he wants running our country?
But here's the sad part. I truly believe most of us live our lives knowing we're in a great country. The United States is truly exceptional. But now we seem to have reached a point where some people - people who write these kinds of letters - want everything to be the good guys vs the bad guys. Us vs Them. If I don't share their beliefs I'm a bad guy and not a patriot. If I think the other guy - in this case President Obama - has some virtue or done some good things, I'm basically a traitor. How can the party or candidate who loses an election play the role of "loyal opposition" when the party and candidate that won basically think they're trash?
That is hate And the sad part is a lot of people who claim to be religious are spreading hate these days. Even more difficult to accept, my doctor friend seems to be one of them. This is not the America or the kind of friend I can believe in. Wouldn't it be better to close the door and pray for the President and our country?