Monday, July 24, 2006

I'm Just Full of Ideas...

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.


Bean said...

"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."

Isn't the Bill of Rights awesome? ;)

Cal said...

I agree. In fact, the one thing that really does bother me is when people are not grateful for the freedoms this country allows.

Cal said...

One other thing...
There was an incident when I got drunk, and as I get drunk so rarely, it really loosened my lips politically. To this day, I know not what all I said and I truly regret that it happened.

I, like you, lean to one side but am rather moderate on many issues. And, as long as someone has researched and honestly believes what they say, I completely respect their opinions.

Jules said...

Cal -- we've all been guilty of doing some of the same things. Lord knows I've opened my mouth only to "insert foot". ;)


Katherine said...

I think I've already mentioned to you that I live in the "Bible Belt". Most people around here are very conservative. I am not one of those people. My views are more "moderate" than most of my neighbors. I have worked with the poor, the elderly, the handicapped. I worked with a man who was let go from his company after 21 years of service due to an on the job injury. This man never, ever thought he'd need welfare. Well, he did. And we helped him at a time when others turned him away. I get very angry when many of my conservative friends tell me that people just abuse welfare, that no good comes from it. I wish they'd known Mr. R. They might see things differently.

Sorry, I didn't mean to get so long-winded. It's nice to know that someone shares some of my views. Because no one, except my husband, shares my views around here. And people seem to get really closed-minded. If I don't agree with them, I'm wrong in my thinking. Not so! I have a viewpoint that has been affected by my experiences in life.

Teri said...

And your ONE Republican friend loves you dearly :-)
Signed the leftest Republican in Utah

Mama Lamb said...

Thank you Jules for saying what I had wanted to say, but didn't. We also have friends who are "in your face" about politics. Now they happen to be on the "same side" we are, if you will, but I am always amused at how other people react to them. Shirts, bumper stickers, homemade signs on the van made by the kids, etc. And I always think... way to go. There is someone who stands behind what they believe, has looked deep and hard at what they believe, is teaching their children to believe in something/anything, and to be active in the nations affairs...I think we all need to take a more active roll in politics. In a country with our freedoms, it is sad that more people will vote for a 15 second "idol" than for a leader of a country. So I am all for in your face.. not my style necessarily, but I would rather have deep discussions about politics that either help me ask more questions or answer more questions, and teach my children the same, then otherwise.


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