The Ties That Blind

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Name another president that has had people show up for a meeting openly displaying guns. Legally, they may have the right; but is it the responsible thing to do? There is no way to say these acts do not have a racial sub-plot

[National: Op-Ed]

Despite all the problems in the U.S., this is still one of the best places in the world to live. This is why people are committing crimes to enter our country. 

But, listening to some of the words being used in the healthcare debate, you wouldn’t know that. In last week’s column, “The Right Is Wrong,” I discussed how people assert their rights, but never assert their responsibilities. 

Based on the amount of email I received from last week, I must have struck a cord. Yes, people do have the right to free speech, but they also have the right to leave the country if they are that dissatisfied. Why would you want to live in a country run by a “Nazi?” 

If President Obama’s policies are socialist-communist-fascist, what does that make Bush’s --and the then Republican Congress’s policies? You don’t hear these people asserting their right to leave the country. Are they’re so blinded by ideology and racism that they can’t distinguish between disagreeing on policy and not accepting the fact that Obama is president?

Can you name another president that has had people show up for a meeting openly displaying guns? Legally, they may have the right; but is it the responsible thing to do?  There is no way to say these acts do not have a racial sub-plot; even though one of the people displaying an assault rifle was Black. 

This was a great opportunity for the National Rifle Association (NRA) to score some political points by publically calling for restraint and common sense. This has nothing to do with rights and everything to do with being responsible.  

Folks toting guns at events like these is hurting the NRA brand and it would be wise for their leadership to make some type of public statement. I don’t expect them to do this, but it would be a smart move. Sometimes people can be so blinded by those they choose to associate with. 

Most of these people have no friends who have differing opinions on various issues, so their whole being is constantly reinforced by those who view the world as they do.  Members of Congress no longer socialize across party lines after votes. Christian conservatives have no interaction with NARAL; abortion rights group. 

Gay activists have no dialogue with conservative ministers.  Any contact with the other is mostly adversarial. That’s why I have made a commitment to having people on my radio show that I totally disagree with on issues (

For example, two weeks ago I had John Goodwin from the Humane Society of  America on my radio show to talk about the Michael Vick situation. He was a phenomenal guest and he and I are going to get together for lunch or dinner so we can continue our dialogue. Who can know what will come of these friendly conversations. Just because you disagree doesn’t mean you have to be disagreeable.

Sometimes we must interact with those with different views so that we can become more understanding of the bigger picture. Even if you don’t change your views, at least you have established relationships that will be bigger than individual issues. 
As people continue to assert their rights, they should be cognizant that America is one of the few countries that have this level of freedom. America, with all its blemishes, can be so much better if we focus more on asserting our rights in a more responsible manner.  Associating only with people you agree with is the type of ties that can blind.

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-based political consulting-government affairs firm. You can listen to his radio show every Saturday evening from 7-9:00 p.m. 

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