>> Saturday, May 30, 2009
Patricia asked: But, since you're asking, when considering the political perspectives of all of our citizens, what combination (if it were possible to create the perfect combination) would be best for the country? All conservatives? All liberals? All moderates? Or some other combination? I'm just curious what you might say.
I don't think I can answer that the way you intended. I don't think of people as conservatives or liberals, even if they think of themselves that way. Why? Because people are complex. And so is society. Throughout the world, there are few if any pure capitalistic societies, pure communist cultures, pure anything. Most that do exist have existed only for a short time and probably don't have much future.
Am I a liberal? I believe in responsibility, accountability and support capital punishment. I'm also pro-science, support gay marriage and equality, believe in the separation of church and state, support environmental concerns and universal health care.
The problem with labels is that they're used to take the place of individuals. Saying someone is conservative or an immigrant or Muslim or black or elderly or female or even fat--it's too easy to use the labels to think you know who someone is instead of really getting to know them.
If you listen to the news or several outlets, you could get a very skewed notion of what a "conservative" is, for example. But the difference between many "conservatives" and the rest of us may be one or two issues deep. The same for, say, Muslims. There are millions and millions of Muslims world-wide and most of them are just like the rest of us, just wanting to live happy full lives, raise their children, find satisfaction. Be safe.
It's too easy for labels to become a way to magnify our differences and keep from working together. I think most people aren't just a label, they're middle of the road in some things, extreme on some issues and others, sometimes on the opposite side. Complex. More than the labels would make them.
What would I like to see? I'd like to see more people responding to issues rather than labels. I'd like to see more people worrying less about what their neighbors believe and do and more about their own actions. More tolerance. More critical thinking. More empathy.
If we do that, I think we'll find we can all walk similar paths without having to give up all our differences - and I seriously hope our differences never entirely go away. Those differences give life spice and texture, depth and meaning.
The world is more than black and white or even shades of gray. It's a symphony of hue and light, shadow and texture, depth and warmth. I hope we never grow monochrome.
Does that count as an answer for you?