Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gingrich and Obama on Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party, Respectively: A Study in Contrasts (Oh, and Love Your Enemies)

If Ralph Waldo Emerson is correct in asserting that, "There can be no high civility without a deep morality," Newt Gingrich may have provided us with some priceless insight into his character at last weekend's Thanksgiving Family Forum in Iowa.
     The nastiness of modern American politics might fairly be compared to a football scrum, and no one emerges with the ball, so to speak, without throwing a few elbows. But still there remain some standards of decency--however relative they may be. For example, Rick Perry's bald-faced lie that Obama called the American people "lazy", would probably hurt his campaign if it was still viable. And Representative Joe Walsh recently learned that screaming at constituents is generally looked down upon. Another rule is that one should save his harshest punches for fellow pols, treating more magnanimously groups of citizens who don't share your philosophy.
     Which brings us to this demonstration of incivility from a man who will, thankfully, never be the president of the United States:

In comparison, President Obama's analysis of the Tea Party's significance certainly seems like "high civility":

     But since Obama is indeed a politician, and not without his own transgressions, let's conclude with some pertinent advice from a more pristine source:
You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."
-Jesus Christ, Matthew 5:43-48

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