Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Not in a Gang and Loving the Buffet

I've never been much of a joiner. Certainly it's fun/meaningful/sexy to lend a hand to a certain cause but I've never found a group and said "yes this is who I am." Or if I did it wasn't for long.

Growing up in a strongly identified Democrat household shaped my views when I was younger, but eventually I questioned my family and their long standing beliefs because I like to think. Thinking is good and no belief should just be swallowed no matter how noble it may initially seem. Eventually I began to see that politically my values are generally liberal but not blindly so & that there are some very conservative opinions I have that would make even Obama blush.

Really though what does conservative or liberal even mean? Is it conservative that I believe abortion shouldn't be used as a form of birth control? Why can't that be a pro-woman "liberal" thought because my main concern is women's health? Why must I automatically be labeled liberal because my spouse happens to have a uterus? Our family is as domestic as any one's.

There is too much of a rush to identify with a group just because it happens to represent some of our values. Okay so maybe someone wants fewer taxes and less governmental power. Why does one have to then identify with the Tea Party or Libertarians? Can't a person just take their personal preferences a la cart without having to eat the entire menu? Instead of labeling ourselves as one thing or another, can't we just take what we like and leave the rest? The answer is yes we can, we're just to lazy to be bothered and too scared to stand on our own.

My spouse and I do not always agree on issues. She's way more out there than me. We agree to disagree on a number of topics. And we listen to each other. No one ever died from merely hearing someone out and taking time to think about their words. So we let each other share what we feel and if we don't agree we say "that's interesting" or "I've never thought of that before" or "I don't know about that but I'll think about it." Is there an immediate feeling of closure or winning? No. But there is one of mutual respect, which really, isn't as awful as one might think.

No one group ever truly has all the answers. Religion, political groups and even social clubs have all proved that there is really no such thing as one single unified vision. If that were the case then there wouldn't be the vast variety of faith communities, political parties and networks. Even if we agree with 90% of a particular organization's values, there is always the chance we may eventually evolve in our views and grow to believe in other, possibly truer principals.

Personally I love a buffet. There's variety, there's opportunity to try something new and if something doesn't taste good, you don't have to swallow it anymore.

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