Many think I am to the left. My politics and my theology are similar; I don't think you get much done unless everyone is at the table. I am a centrist at heart.This went up in response to the post-election day talk about the Tea Party and more. Now let me clear - I am more to the left than not, but I am hardly far to the left if you actually understand me. That said, the important thing is not what I am - how very American-individualistic that is and for a long time, it was important to me. It still matters, but what matters more is what *we* are.
And yes - if I am honest, I will say that I think that Christine O'Donnell is truly nuts and that Carl Paladino is not so far behind. So much for "we." Ah, we humans, such bundles of contradictions, one and all.
However, who we are does matter and it matters a lot. I am not an altruist, but I think I am a realist. If we continue to carry on in this "my side versus your side" way, where are we headed? National divorce court? Will the country split? It sure feels that way at times.
A friend of mine, whose identity is not essential to this and I will keep it private unless they wish to reveal themselves, wrote me a note about some on-going conversations we have had over these past two years, and this person had some issues with what I said in that update.
This is the note that I sent in return.
As ever, I remain very fond of you, if not for the least thing is your passion. Your passion - not unlike my own - cuts both ways however.
To send me an email that includes SHOUTING and starts with what may not have been sent with the intention of a finger-wagging scolding, but certainly comes off that way.
Now I say intention, because I am not sure that is what you meant and I will venture that it is not what you meant at all.
If anything, these past 2 -3 years of blogging first and then FB, have made me far more centrist. When I say that I am a centrist in my heart, what I mean is that while my positions are possibly more to the left, I do not think that anything good or meaningful in the way of progress happens if only one side or the other gets their way alone.
These past 30 years have been nothing but that tug of war for the most part and it will be what splinters our land, if you ask me.
Which is why I say we all must have a voice- left or right. This whole "screw you - we're taking back what we believe is right" message, whether coming from extreme liberals or tea partiers is obnoxious to hear and detrimental to all.
Another issue, a far more important one perhaps, is one I need to constantly re-listen to and adjust to... What does it mean when one is "left," "right," "progressive," "orthodox," "conservative," or "liberal?"
We assess what we think, whether we think that is good or bad and we project that out onto that person, with all the benefits and detriments that brings.
What you refer to our disagreement that you refer to, you also remind me that, with all due respect, you hold onto it. I would be, no disrespect, to remember all the details. We are all different and I do not hold onto those things in the same way, with you or anyone. (In general at least!)
On Wednesday I got another comment, from a Roman Catholic sister, Rose Pacatte, FSP. It was on the thread that you are referring to and she said that we are all Catholic.
This is why my theology and my politics are centrist in the way that calls all to one table. We are all Americans, not one better than the other and we are all human, not one better than the other.
I am not so lofty that I can daily live up to my own ideals. I try not to call people stupid or crazy, but true enough, I do it often enough. You are one of the people who has (gratefully) helped me to do this.
Like anyone, all I can do is be in the present and look to the past for reminder or inspiration, but not to stay there. In this present I have only here and now and the future to ponder. A future that will not be made real until I live out of the place this moment puts me in. That is what I try - fail as I do and so frequently at that - to do every single day.
I wish you peace always. If I were to express a prayer for you it would be for you to be less reactive. If I am to be honest, that is my prayer for myself as well, every single day.
Thank you for remaining engaged in the conversation.
I am curious as to why people on either side of the divide, if they feel this way, why if "the other side," (whatever that other is) is the problem, why they believe that having "their own way" will remedy anything.
Do others matter? What brings you to the table? What is the benefit of engaging with others? Even if they have seemed to disregard you? Do you disregard them in return or... I don't know what the answer is. I am always curious about this. Today I am talking about politics, but faith matters are the same.
I feel like we as Americans are a bunch of immature toddlers who are screaming for their way and either they get their way or no one gets anything. I will break all the toys rather than share them with you is what it feels like. What is up with that? Although I know what that feels like. It is very alluring but I do attempt to resist.
The things that keep me up at night...
PS - I read this book when it was published in January 2008. It was not a great book, but it was a good book to read. I owe the author a debt of gratitude in helping me reshape my approach to so many things.