Politics Screw With Love

Almost everything that pokes at me and sends me out of my comfort zone these days originates from Facebook.  I think this window we’ve created for ourselves into the lives of people we know, but don’t really know forces us pull our heads out of the sand and admit that there are all kinds of other viewpoints out there.  If we can’t embrace each others’ differences, we at least have to learn to accept them because they exist and denying the existence doesn’t change that fact.

For me the button that is most often pressed is the one in charge of my politics.  I know that I am not the only one that could admit this.  Today a friend posted something that was so very true, yet left me feeling a mixture of angry, sad, and fearful.  I’ll try to paraphrase what she said:

Do you ever notice how when you find out someone’s political beliefs your opinion of them instantly changes and you no longer feel the same about them? It’s interesting that that happens.

Reading that made me sad because, after two years of being her Facebook friend, I know her political views and they are not the same as mine.  It was a reminder that the instant I am open about being liberal there are people who will think less of me and perhaps even write me off.  The comment made me angry because it means that all the respect and love that brings us to a relationship in the first place can be torn apart in one moment of categorizing ourselves.  Finally it made me fearful because, like I said before, it was a very true (for probably most people) statement.

I’ve been in both situations before.  I’ve been in the place where you’re hanging out with a new friend, you like them and see the potential for a great relationship and then the subject of politics come up.  They say something that lets you know their on your team and suddenly you feel those warm fuzzies.  In your mind you’re running through a field of daisies with some sweet song playing.  In one instant an alliance has been made, and yes, you like this person more than you did the moment before.  I’ve also been in the moment where the new friend expresses a political opinion opposite yours and the sound of a record scratch resonates in your head.  How could this be?  She/He can’t possibly be one of them!  And just like that, you’re not so sure you could ever find common ground with this right-wing/left-wing crazy (gotta love how our ego exaggerates)!

If there is something I want to transform about myself it is this reaction.  I want to see myself have these snap judgments and be able to take a time-out to pray for God to heal my thoughts and help me see what’s real.  In reality we all just want the same basic things.  We want to feel safe and loved.  It doesn’t matter what your political party affiliation is.  The negative reactions about our differences come from fear and that fear is used so well in politics to divide us, even from those we respect and love.

More and more these days I am finding friends on the other side of the fence whom I have so much in common with.  I am better for having them in my life and hope that in the future my political allegiances never keep me from connecting with people like these smart and loving ones I already know!

*A note to my FB friend if she is reading*

I hope I didn’t offend you by paraphrasing you here.  Thank you for inspiring me to look within at my own reactions.

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JFK

“If by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal,” then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.” -John F. Kennedy.

Why Tuesday Broke My Heart

On Tuesday night I watched the election results and basically felt as if I had been stabbed in the gut.  For the first time I understood that fear-you know the fear that has been swimming through our ultra-conservative population across the country since Obama was elected in 2008-that the country is about to see some very very dark days.  I sat there with this ache in my belly wondering how long before we bleed out.  I used to think that that fear was absurd and irrational, but since the shoe is on the other foot now, I can finally understand.

On my Facebook page several people commented on how it was a new day in America.  One of them stated that now the morals and values would be returning.  That one made me start to think about my own values.  I’ve not always been inclined to state what really matters to me for fear that I may rock the boat and make others uncomfortable, but I think it’s time for me to tell everyone what being liberal means to me.

*I believe in doing what you can to help people in need.

*I believe that people are more important then the profits of enormous corporations and when the divide between the rich and the poor gets this out of hand we should really start asking what is going on.

*I believe that sick people have a right to be healed, even if they don’t have very much money or don’t spend it wisely.

*I believe that gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry and adopt children in every state.

*I am pro-choice because I am simply not qualified to make that decision for someone else.  It has nothing to do with how I feel about abortions or whether I value life.

*I want to protect our environment so that we have clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and a healthy food supply.

*I value public education and want to see it thrive.

*I believe in peaceful compromises.

*I believe that if our men and women in uniform (military and civil service) are willing to sacrifice their lives for our freedom and safety, we should be willing to sacrifice a little extra from our paychecks to help our communities and our country remain safe and free. (At some point someone’s got to raise taxes-starting with the Bush tax cuts- or else we’re going to be the United States of America: PROPERTY OF CHINA.)

I’m sure this list could go on and on, but I’ve been at this post for an hour and a half now and I’m fried.  The simple fact is, when I read over the list none of that sounds evil to me.  Being liberal to me is about being generous and open-minded.  There is a song we just taught the kids at church that sort of sums it up.

Love is something if you give it away, give it away, give it away

Love is something if you give it away, you end up having more

It’s just like a magic penny, hold it close and you won’t have any

Give it away and you’ll have so many, they’ll roll all over the floor

(My take of it is that) the Republicans will have you believe that closing off the tap will save what we have and allow our wealth and strength to grow, but I think (and I’m pretty sure Jesus would agree) that quite the opposite is true.