Good morning. Happy Monday.
It appears that the most viewed and discussed item on my blog thus far is the American Naivete piece from last week. So I thought I’d offer a deeper inspection of one segment.
In the piece, I mentioned the political climate. One could make an argument that the particular era in which we exist is the most politically charged and/or negative in history. One could also make the argument our political climate is so awash in political correctness that we are afraid to say anything we actually mean for fear of reprisal. I tend to think it’s a little of both…
I grew up in solidly conservative, but very thoughtful and practical, intellectual environment. Mom, from a working-class family of yellow-dog-democrats, dad from a working class family of limited-government-republicans. They met while each pursued Political Science degrees from the University of Colorado (not exactly a bastion of conservative thought) and worked in journalism until dad got his law degree.
When I was still quite young, dad went into politics, so I’ve been involved (tagging along canvasing neighborhoods, handing out fliers, being in political radio and tv ads, being in interviews and around them, going to the caucuses and the state conventions, et al) So I’ve seen it for a long time – close to 30 years.
In that time I’ve seen a lot of reactionary thinking and action. But at home in conversations with my parents, and thoughtful folks like them, I always received balance. My parents did a fantastic job of teaching me how to see both sides of an argument, and thus the perspective of the people on both sides of the discussion.
With that in mind I offer one small piece of wisdom. It is vitally important, in matters of faith, politics, etc., to remain open to people. It is perfectly appropriate to critique a mode of thought, a political ideology, a candidates views or record, a particular philosophical viewpoint on governance. In other words, ideas, systems, ideologies & matters of record are all firmly on the table of discourse.
However, people, their hearts, candidate’s families, their intellectual capacity or lack thereof, ought to be strictly off the table.
In other words, it’s of the utmost importance, if we have any sort of hope for a shared future, a reconciled America, or a functional community, to respect one another enough to be kind. We can always disagree, although it’s been said that critique is the lowest form of intellectual activity. It’s easy to find holes in a system or set of ideas, what’s difficult – and more worth the effort – is to find ways to come together to patch those holes.
It is in this coming together to solve problems that we can be and are at our best. Unity, is not afterall a goal to be sought after, but a natural biproduct of having a singular purpose. If our goal is honestly to make our nation, and our communities better, and not simply to bash the other party, then the unity part comes naturally if we’ll let it.