Why Political Engagement Is Necessary

A key, and critical, part of our system of government is that we are each entitled to our opinions on matters of public interest, and entitled to express them. I am a staunch defender of the 1st Amendment because it is fundamental.

I recently got a screed from a local resident that tested this belief (spoiler alert: it survived). I won’t reproduce the entire missive here — I don’t want to give the author’s opinions that much air time — but it was filled with statements, assertions, and arguments that I found to be reprehensible and not at all in keeping with the fundamental decency of the San Carlos I know. A few selected extracts:

Flying the queer flag and allowing the San Mateo Pride in “perversion outside the main stream” center to perform their heathen flag ceremony and paint the steps with their graffiti…is a necessary part of your leftist agenda (NB: probably not someone who shares my views on the 1st Amendment).

As I watched the presentation from this queer, weird child-like person from the “Pride Center”, with a speech pattern unlike any of the people I encounter in day to day life, I sensed those in the room felt as uncomfortable as I did (NB: ah, no, almost all of them were there to celebrate how wonderful San Carlos is). Why in the “Sam Hill” is city hall dealing with this?

The Turner gun store episode was a great example of the new San Carlos you are so anxious to create. It was a learning experience for me, to find out how many left wing idiots now live in San Carlos…I had to figure out the real message was that progressives don’t want guns in the hands of responsible law abiding citizens (NB: actually, if we could just keep them out of the hands of batshit crazy people I could probably live with that). They don’t mind gang members with guns, or police that are anti 2nd Amendment, and leave school kids unprotected from the crazy school shooter who was indoctrinated in their education system.  

The author is a self-described fundamentalist Christian and cites a number of Biblical references to support his worldview. I was sufficiently intrigued by this — as it is completely at odds with what I recall were Christ’s teachings — that I asked a religious scholar I know about it. I was relieved to learn the conclusions drawn by the author are widely considered extremist misinterpretations of scripture. But they are, unfortunately, not at all uncommon.

The reason I’m writing this article is not to try and suppress this gentleman’s opinion. But the expression of his views raises an important point regarding political discourse that is often overlooked, particularly by people who strive to be reasonable and accommodating of diverse viewpoints.

Political discourse is often dominated by fringe views. That’s because, generally, reasonable people look to spend their time living life, not fighting for a Cause. Unfortunately, when reasonable people disengage from politics, for whatever reason, undesirable things can happen (consult any history textbook for evidence).

So if the views expressed by the screed’s author do nothing else I hope they will convince you, the reasonable people of San Carlos, not to stay on the sidelines. That doesn’t mean you have to adopt a Cause yourself, although it’s your right to do so.

But at least demand political discourse not be dominated by the fringe, and call out the fringe as not representing you when it surfaces. You have the weight of numbers; all that’s necessary is for you to make your demand for reasonable discourse known. The political process itself will take care of the rest.

So, please: get engaged. Stay engaged.

As for the person who sparked this article, I feel more sorrow for him than anger. Certainly his worldview repulses me and, hopefully, most of the residents of San Carlos.

You’ve chosen to live in a dark and scary place, sir. Why you’ve done so I don’t know. But I hope for your own sake, and the sake of those who care about you, that you find your way out of it. Why choose to create your own delusional Hell on Earth when you could enjoy the real City of Good Living?