I'm not sure exactly why, but it's just hit me that I'm literally FULL of ideas lately. I can't say they're all good ones, but I am thinking a lot lately. I think a lot about almost everything people say to me, say about me, or just say in general.
Recently, I came across a friend who said he was offended by people who express their political opinions, because they'd driven to their house with a car full of bumper stickers that showed an opinion that's different from their own.
I wondered -- almost out loud -- but I'll take the risk that it's seen here: Does it ever cross their mind that just because someone doesn't agree with them, does that make them wrong?
And why do they take it so personally?
There has been plenty of thinking time for me lately, and it's not just about my recent loss. I've been handed the time to truly think about my belief system, as well as considering others'. I'm sensitive to not only my own thoughts, but what goes through the minds of those around me who don't hold my views. I consider their thoughts and respect them, even if they aren't the same as mine.
Pardon me if I appear to be sitting on my high horse, but all too often lately, I feel people take personal offense, just because someone else dains to hold an opinion that's different from their own.
Take for example, the rather partisan views of our nation today.
I was at a party not too long ago where a new resident of our country was invited. A rather far-to-one-side of the spectrum person (no, I won't bother telling you left or right) was asking him about whether he was politically right or left, and none too gracefully either.
But this friend was from Europe, where many countries have as many as 26 political parties -- a mix of left, right, centerist (oh, how I wish we could all be more centered). This woman was pointedly trying to drive this poor friend to state his politics as being one way or the other (as if there were only two), when I interjected and said gently that our friend was from one such country that wasn't nearly as divided as ours.
My new European friend, not knowing which way I lean politically, showed me his thankfulness for my insight with a mere glance of thanks.
Many people who know me know me to be a mainstream Democrat type, but they don't understand that there are many issues on which I maintain a centerist, and sometimes even a right-wing view. I don't believe that just because I hold a certain view, that they should too.
In fact, I have no problem with someone being a Republican, as long as they've thought about it, and know why they are -- not just because they're subscribing to a certain dogma without considering all the ramifications.
I know this sounds cliche', but one of my best friends is a Republican...but when you really talk to her, you'll find that she's not nearly as rigid in her social politics as one might think of when they think of a Republican. In the same way, I'm not nearly as Liberal as those who might think of when they hear the "L" word.
It is more important to me that people celebrate the fact that they can wear an anti-George Bush t-shirt while he's still the President.
Doesn't it mean anything that we are free to do so?
I think so.
And that mindset of mine doesn't change when the President of the United States is a Democrat either. I honestly think that our ability to remain free to speak our minds, whether it's in the form of a bumpersticker or marching in the streets, is one of the most dear civil liberties we have.
And if that makes me a Liberal, then that's exactly what I am.