Monday, April 2, 2007

Coming out of my comfort area

I really dislike discussing politics with other people. I believe that each person has a right to believe what they want to believe and has ideas & opinions of their own. Just because we may have different ideas doesn't make one of us wrong or right. It's simply that we follow a different thought.

I am coming out of my self-imposed shell on politics however to address something that pisses me off. And I'm tired of being lumped into a category and thought to have poor sense. I consider myself independent, I do not identify with a particular party. I vote for who the best candidate is based on my beliefs. Having said that, most of my ideas and beliefs tend to fall along the more liberal sense. I do not identify as a democrat, but would most likely fall into that particular category if I had to pick one over the other. I actually think the whole hullabalo over party lines is pretty ridiculus and prevents forward progress at times.

There was a email that was shared with me last week via a recipient (names are being withheld) and it has spurred me to write this. The individual is more of a conservative thinker (by my estimates) and usually does a fair amount of liberal bashing. I used to receive the political banter sent back and forth with this group, but selected to opt out as I had begun to feel like my opinions were "wrong" simply because they were not of the same mind as another. There is a difference between discussing politics in an open-minded, fair way and basically telling someone that they are wrong.

Well, I'm tired of it. The email contained this phrase, "...I've been troubled by the mystery (to me) of how liberal-minded people come to the conclusion that everything about this country, their country, is wrong - wrong to the point of being evil. What upset me the most about this comment is that a group of individuals are being lumped together with the idea that most liberals believe this country is evil. That I as a more liberal thinker am being categorized as a person who finds the USA evil. I find that statement offensive personally. I may be of liberal mind, but I do NOT believe this country is evil. This idea, for me, goes along with the whole if you do not support the president's decisions you cannot support the troops, and then you must be unpatriotic. Bullshit!

I love my country. I love the things it stands for, our freedoms here, the idea that we can be anything we want to be. We have flown a flag at our home. We have supported the troops. We have too many family members who are active military or retired to not be aware of the the things soldiers face. We are proud of those individuals and of the things they do. I would never withhold support to them simply because I disagree with some of the President's choices.

Just because I may disagree with certain decisions of the current administration does not make me a less-minded thinker. It's my option and choice to disagree. If we all thought the same way, this country would be in much worse shape. Differences are always going to be there. It's what we do with and how we handle those difference that matter to me.

I have read stories and news reports of how during the last election people stopped speaking to one another simply because one was of a Republican and the other a Democrat. These people had been friends for years. I find that idiotic. Differences are what makes us unique and yes, they will stir up discussion. I'm not against that. What I am against is being judged for what I believe. There is the mention of "rational discussion" in the email and while I hope for that, deep down I believe what will happen is what's happened in the past. Because my beliefs (and my husband's) are different from the email sender, there will eventually be a feeling of "your wrong" thrown into the rational discussions. I have no difficulty explaining my ideas and opinions to others and have done so with certain individuals who are there to discuss the thought without judgement. We all pass judgement at some level, but there is a higher level attached to these discussions at times.

There are certain people that I know I can trust to hold a safe, open, and rational discussion. And no, we are not of the same political mind. We can discuss our differences as just that, differences. No one is right, no one is wrong. We just simply believe different things. And that is okay. It doesn't make us enemies, we don't think each other is nuts for what we each think and believe. We respect one another for the beliefs we have.

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