In the course of writing this column over the last few years, I have, at various times, been accused of being everything from a bed-wetting liberal atheist to a homophobic right-wing bigot.

Neither are true of course, but it does illustrate the habit of some to categorize others according to their own misunderstandings. Or their own prejudices.

The truth of the matter is I am neither liberal nor conservative, at least not as those epithets are normally understood, as a Cherokee man, what I am is “Something Else.”

During the most recent national election, one of the national cable news channels chose to categorize the demographics of voters as “White” “Black” and “Something Else,” American Indians being “Something Else.”

A sophomoric gesture to be sure, especially from a news team who should know better, but it illustrates the habit of people to assume rather than to listen and to think. Facts become irrelevant in the carnival house of political slogans, where otherwise intelligent people are coerced to forgo reason and intellect by an ideological lynch mob bankrupt of both morals and logic.

The assumptions made by armchair ideologues are sometimes truly amusing, or they would be if they did not have real-world consequences, and real-world dangers. But they do. Not the least of these dangers is the manner in which these extremist gadflies skew the mainstream conversation.

Among these types, anyone with the temerity to look at a position with logic and balance are sure to be castigated and pilloried on social media and anywhere else these agitators can find. Some years ago, one of these individuals asked me a question regarding the political position of American Indians, “What do YOU PEOPLE think?,” he asked. It was necessary to inform this idiot that the political positions of American Indians are as varied as they are in the rest of the population.

As “Something Else,” I reserve the right to think for myself. The right to think for oneself is the cornerstone of liberty, but it is a fragile one and one which must be diligently defended if we are to remain free.

The right to think is far more important than the right to bear arms, as there is no greater threat to liberty than a well-armed mob of intellectually bankrupt fanatics. We need look no further than September 11, 2001, to prove this fact, but we could.

We could list many examples of the damage done by fanatics seeking to compromise the liberty of the American people, the Ku Klux Klan comes immediately to mind, but there are now, and have been, plenty of others. Right now, there are neighborhoods in some American cities so dominated by Muslim fanatics that an

American woman cannot safely walk down the street without a dish rag on her head. On the other hand, there are places where Christian fanatics represent an equal threat to liberty. Both are equally evil, and both are equally dangerous.

The hypocrisy on both sides is both flagrant and insulting. Conservatives have always been, or at least claimed to be, advocates of local control. That is until some local politicians started to disagree with them. Now they are suddenly fully in the camp of centralized power in the places where local leaders are actually representing local interests and attitudes at the expense of ideological purity. And things are no better on the other side of the trash strewn alley, with liberal elites pushing positions that both stretch credulity and defy logic.

So yes, I am “Something Else,” I will defend your right to have your opinion even if I disagree, I expect the same in return. You have the right to your religious persuasion, but you do not have the right to force it on me. You have the right to be confused about whether you are a man or a woman, but you do not have the right to force me to change the English language (he, she, him, her,) just because of your issues.

There is a difference between tolerance and imposition. Liberty requires tolerance, that is to say we all have the responsibility to be tolerate things we disagree with in the interest of liberty, but we do not have the right to impose on others our own comforts, or our own prejudices. Have a little common sense, and don’t be so easily offended.

This is not the opinion of a liberal, or a conservative, it is the opinion of “Something Else.”

Fulton Arrington is a past president and current board member of the Friends of the New Echota State Historic Site. He can be reached by email at fultonlarrington@yahoo.com.

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