Sometimes it seems as thought this country is being split right down the middle over this “left” and “right” business. Another civil war would not surprise me one bit. I guess by default I have been compartmentalized into the “left” category…I am not altogether comfortable with that. The application of labels to each other is where things seem to start coming unraveled. I have been called a bleeding heart liberal who likes to sing Kumbaya and smoke pot. Imagine, someone extracted all of that information about me based on the fact that I thought we should all just try to get along and live in peace. I did not shoot a reply back…what would be the point? Nothing I say is going to change their mind, it will only add more fuel to the fire. But I have to say, they sure made themselves look like an ass. There are a lot of people who would have engaged however, and another useless spewing of hatred would have been the result. No one listening, no one saying anything worth listening to, and you can be sure…no one making any sense or solving anything.
Does my heart bleed? Sometimes…it sure does. Anyone who can say that their heart has never bled is either a sociopath or an Alzheimer’s patient. Does my heart bleed every day? Nope…the Spirit wants us to live in peace and be happy. If my heart were to bleed every day I would be letting down the Spirit…not to mention myself and everyone around me. Am I a liberal? Sheesh, define liberal. That word has become nothing more than a cliché that seems to have different meanings depending on who you ask. So then let’s have a look at the dictionary;
1. favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs.
2. ( often initial capital letter ) noting or pertaining to a political party advocating measures of progressive political reform.
3. of, pertaining to, based on, or advocating liberalism.
4. favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, esp. as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties.
5. favoring or permitting freedom of action, esp. with respect to matters of personal belief or expression: a liberal policy toward dissident artists and writers.
6. of or pertaining to representational forms of government rather than aristocracies and monarchies.
7. free from prejudice or bigotry; tolerant: a liberal attitude toward foreigners.
8. open-minded or tolerant, esp. free of or not bound by traditional or conventional ideas, values, etc.
9. characterized by generosity and willingness to give in large amounts: a liberal donor.
10. given freely or abundantly; generous: a liberal donation.
11. not strict or rigorous; free; not literal: a liberal interpretation of a rule.
12. of, pertaining to, or based on the liberal arts.
13. of, pertaining to, or befitting a freeman.
1. reactionary. 8. intolerant.
Well, given all that, I think it is safe to say that I am a liberal…who among us isn’t? Isn’t this the very definition of the principals that this country was founded upon? I think that it is extremely important to note too that there is no mention made of Kumbaya or pot smoking either. Who came up with that tired old analogy anyway?
I suppose that there have been divisions in this country for as long as it has existed. There have also been times when the nation has come together as a whole and demonstrated just how awesome we can be when we put our minds to it. The coming together always seems to follow on the heels of some disaster though, and after the initial adrenaline rush the division seems to return even stronger than before. We either disagree on whose fault it is, how we are going to fix it, or both. After the adrenaline goes away we all climb back on our high horses and begin jousting again…
I think that 9/11, in a lot of ways, might have done us in. Since that day the lines have become most keenly defined, and no bridge in the world is going to be able to span the ever-growing gap between “left” and “right”. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 were carried out by some unbelievably angry extremists who claimed to be acting on behalf of their entire nation and religion. In retaliation, some of us thought it only fair to attack that entire nation and religion in return. A lot of us disagreed with going off half-cocked and so the battle was turned inward. We have carved “left” and “right” in granite, and whichever camp you reside in is the enemy of the other camp. If you don’t feel that you quite fit in either camp, then both camps consider you a member of the other camp and you are the enemy of each. The problem is, every single time any one of us engages in this way of thinking, the small victory of 9/11 grows. We are becoming unraveled by a very small group of unbelievably angry extremists, and all they had to do was pull one thread. We are doing the rest of the work all by ourselves.
“Left” and “right” are two parts of one whole…both are necessary to the whole…but they are not enemies, and they should not be mistaken with black and white which as we all know are not the only two colors in the world anyway. Somehow, some way, we have got to figure out how to agree to disagree, or those terrorists win. It was unfathomable that brother would turn on brother in the civil war, but they did through reactionism and intolerance which the same thing that is going on today…
“If the human race wishes to have a prolonged and indefinite period of material prosperity, they have only got to behave in a peaceful and helpful way toward one another” ~ Winston Churchill