You Thinking What I'm Thinking?

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Location: Vancouver, WA, United States

There are some things going on in this world that bother me ... that offend me ... that don't make sense, and never will. I dedicate this site to those who seek truth even where it is difficult to find, and who are willing to agree and disagree in principle, while steadfastly refusing to let irrelevant detail overshadow core truth.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Viva la Difference!

News bulletin: we are different from one another, individuals from our basic chemistry and DNA, to our appearance and behavior.  "Well, duh!" you might be thinking.  Duh indeed!

Yet there is a trait among us that seems to be growing of late, more among certain groups. In some, it is subtle, perhaps a preference to be among others who share common interests; a natural gravitation toward persons of like minds or discomfort among those somehow different.  And at the extreme - all one has to do is take a look at our politicians and their partisan behavior - an all or none, in or out, black or white, truly binary world.  It has gotten so pronounced as to demonize anyone who is not 100% of like persuasion, at least politically speaking.  And it has rendered our legislative body as effective as the terracotta army in Xian, China.

I have a very dear friend of many years, and I love him as a brother.  We don't agree on everything and some of our most glaring differences are political.  I've always felt that we could agree to disagree and still remain close, and believed that he felt the same.  Yet one day, not so long ago, he laid the gauntlet at my feet - unless I was willing to declare that I agreed with him on a particular topic, voted as he did against a particular candidate, that I was no longer welcome in his home.  My response?  I don't care who he votes for, he is always welcome in my home.  OK, we'll work through that as friends, but it is exemplary of a growing problem and a clouding of vision among us.

Because we are different, pick any issue and on average we'd all be roughly half-half on the subject.  That is as it should be if we truly follow our own individual hearts.  Does that mean that half are right and half are wrong?  Not really, because we are fortunate enough to live in a country that was founded (and is supposed to be governed) on the principles of freedom - freedom to choose, freedom to believe as we do, freedom to be different, and freedom to speak of our beliefs without fear of reprisal.  That is the essence and the burden we carry as Americans.  Let us celebrate these differences, rejoice that our brothers and sisters are free to believe as they choose  - and defend that right to the end.  To behave any differently, to insist that people believe as we do or else, undermines the very fabric of our country, the very fabric that they insist they're trying to preserve even as a strict conservative or absolute liberal.

Let us celebrate our differences.  But in order to do that, we must accept compromise, for that is the only way it is going work, the only way to serve the greater good and the only way to achieve for our country that which our founding fathers had in mind - "... of the people, by the people and for the people."

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Negativity ... begets Negativity ...

This is going to be difficult, because I want to make a point about negativity ... without sounding negative. Well, here goes.

 The Setting 

 We are in the last week before the 2012 Presidential Election and in the aftermath of one of the worst storms to hit our country, hurricane sandy (won't honor that one with a capital letter). Every time we turn on the TV, we're confronted with ads about which candidate doesn't do this or can't do that, or yet another news bit on the devastation along our Eastern seaboard. First of all, my prayers go out to those living there along with what little I can afford to donate. That goes without saying. There is a lot of rebuilding that must go on there and we wish them well.

Now, as to the subject of this post and the event that pushed me to sit down and write this piece. I heard the most bizarre statement on the news today, Republicans criticising one of their own publicly for making a statement thanking President Obama for his help and action in response to this calamity. Say what? I couldn't believe my ears - or sadder still I could. But I had to replay it again to be sure. What next, do they expect to blame him for instigating the storm? Will they claim the storm is a registered Democrat? Unbelieveable!

Don't take this to be an anti-Republican comment, because if the shoe were on the other party, I believe it would have still been made. Ladies and gentlemen - in case you don't already know this - this storm is NOT the result of the actions of either political party. It is also NOT derived from the actions of any terrorist group (although, if they could, I suspect they would take credit for it). This is a natural disaster, plain and simple. It is the sort of thing that that calls for a common reaction and full support of any and all who are aware of its existence. That anyone or any group would take an opportunity to politicize it, or to criticize someone (let alone someone from their own party) for giving praise where praise and thanks are apparently due. OMG! 

At some point in my youth, some adult authority figure said something to me. They said, "If you can't say something positive, don't say anything at all." And, in my opinion, that's what is wrong with our American political arena (an apt word, arena - a place where gladiators used to slay one another for no good reason except sport). We have a two party system for good reason ... to be sure that both sides are heard before we make decisions affecting our people going forward. But it seems we've taken that to the extreme - and this "my way, or the highway" posturing that's going on now sickens me. Left wingers and right wingers alike, to my way of thinking they're extremists in the same league as fundamentalist Muslims or even Christians. I don't believe that we are meant to live at those extremes and I shudder to think of what it might be like of we did. Worse, it seems the ultimate weapon that extremists employ is negativity, whether it be a war of words or bombs. Destroy, maim or defame - that seems to be all that they know. I am a moderate, and I can see both sides.

I will make my own decisions about who gets my vote and my support. I believe that compromise is the only way to serve the greatest good of all, but we seem to have bastardized even that concept. I wont vote for anyone that I cannot respect - and right now I cannot respect either candidate for President. It's a tough job and I don't think this great county is best served by electing someone who's best shot is tantamount to fighting in a sandbox. You want to make a point with me - state it positively - or not at all. I won't listen to negativism, because I believe that's the easy way out. To paraphrase a well known quote, "Those that can, do. Those that can't, criticise."

 Think about it.