A Rose by Any Other Name

My laptop shows me random photos, usually of nature landscapes, as I log on. Sometimes I think, “Oh, that’s [some National Park]” or similar guess. I click to find it’s actually a lake in China, a monument in Peru. My view of it changes! I interpret it differently, even though the scene itself remains constant. It’s foreign. Other.

It occurs to me that labels, names, have so much more power than we realize. People strive to be named “mayor” in a small town even though that title gives no more power than running a meeting. Folks who go to a Protestant church bristle at being mistaken for a Lutheran. A Saudi man is insulted to be asked if he is Yemeni.

Having never taken political labels as anything more than an indication of possible policy platforms, this past three years has shown me how differently others see it. As so many people consider the label of Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, etc., as akin to the designations of Catholic, Jewish, or Hindu, moving from one candidate to another can be as seriously unimaginable as following a different god.

There are still many Catholics who will stand by any priest, bishop or pope no matter his crimes. There are Irish folks who will defend any act of Sinn Fein, no matter how horrific. And the same holds true for some in any political party. Candidates from both parties have been elected while serving prison time. Label can overcome morals.

My hope is more people will judge beyond the label. I would hazard a guess that this is not that time in the U.S. Senate, but perhaps elsewhere, there is hope.

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