1. It is on the surface, a good thing that we have these differences between us. We have this chasm because we are striving to oppose injustice, oppression – in short, what I’ll call “evil.”
The Bush-types out there perceive there to be a great threat from “terrorists” which some have defined as “Islamo-fascists.” And there ARE those out there who’d harm innocent people and standing in opposition to them is a good thing.
Those who distrust Bush and his invasion of Iraq do so because they believe Bush’s actions are possibly illegal and that they encourage, not discourage terrorism. And standing in opposition to that which is illegal and which would encourage terrorism is also good thing.
And so, this desire to set our faces against evil is a good, wholesome desire. BUT…
2. From there, too many of us have decided that because we’re standing against evil, those who disagree with us must be standing in support of evil.
3. And from there, it becomes relatively easy for many of us to speak ill of They That Support Evil, to twist their words (“He said he doesn’t trust Bush’s leadership. He obviously hates America!” “She said that it’s a good idea to try to understand WHY the terrorists are acting like they do. She obviously supports terrorism!”) - EVEN if the twisted words are patently false – and to generally demonize the enemy.
4. Once we’ve accepted that the “other side” are not merely brothers and sisters with whom we have a disagreement over vital issues, but they are in fact monsters or monster-supporters, then they become less than human.
5. Once the enemy is less than human, it becomes all that much easier to further twist their words and demonize them and even want to see them stopped, even with violence, EVEN with deadly violence. EVEN deadly violence that kills innocent bystanders in the process.
And so, even though the initial starting place of opposing evil is a good, if we allow that opposition to begin to allow us to demonize the other side, then we have taken steps down a twisted path that can lead to terrorism, that can lead to evil, that can lead to becoming that very thing which we had hoped to oppose to begin with.
Standing in opposition to evil is vital, but HOW we do so is more vital, yet.