23 July, 2012

Men are respectable only as they respect.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson
I've been doing a lot of "free writing" lately. Just letting my pen glide across the page without letting my internal editor know what is going on. This is the first in what I am sure is going to be a new series, where I share some of what has come out of those sessions. Some topics may be kind of heavy, "controversial" or pretty polarizing topics and some might just be down right ridiculous.  Who knows, but that's kind of the point. It's just me, unedited and (sadly) unfiltered.



For most of my adult life, I have subscribed to the rule that I'll talk about almost anything except for two things:

Politics & Religion.

It only takes a few instances of people rolling their eyes at you in disgust and telling you that "you are wrong" or "stupid" or are "such an idiot", "not as intelligent or as smart" as they thought you were or my personal favorite that they "just don't have a place in their lives for people like you" before you don't even try anymore. But today I am (kind of) throwing caution to the wind.

Despite what I have "learned" from others on the subject, what I believe (specifically) isn't really all the imporant as to who I am as a person just as what you believe (specifically) isn't going to make me think any less or any more of you as a person.

Republican. Democrat. Liberal. Conservative. Socialist Christian. Muslim. Atheist. Agnostic. Buddhist. Hindi. Jewish. Mormon. 

None of the above really matters, because for me, it's all about respect, understanding and acceptance.

I was only 5 or 6 when I adopted my current beliefs about religion (if you are old/young enough to believe in something, you are old/young enough to not believe in something). It was during a bible school lesson while the teacher was telling us that God was always watching us, to which I responded "Oh....so you mean like Santa Claus". After a back and forth with the teacher, me being told I was wrong and me not understanding why I was being told I was wrong, the teacher ended the conversation by saying "Because Santa Claus isn't real". That was an awesome day in my young life.

As for politics, I had my first "debate" during the third grade (I would have been 8 going on 9) when George Bush was running against Michael Dukakis. I don't remember the specifics of what was said, but I remember it having to do with something Dukakis had done or said and my friend at the time didn't feel was right. My argument on the subject was that at least he told the truth--why wouldn't you want the President to be someone who told the truth? But that didn't matter and was promptly made fun of for "supporting a loser" when he lost the election.

Those two instances quite early on in life taught me a very valuable less about both topics and that was to simply stay out of the way of any conversation or debate about either. It taught me that for some (not all), anything before that moment of revealing what you believe no longer matters. I have lost more friends  (although one could argue that if we had really been friends we'd still be friends) than I can to admit because we didn't see eye to eye. And each time one of them walked away from me for the last time, it stung and made me question whether is was really worth holding tight to what I feel is the right way for me to live my life or if I should just give up and give in to what everyone else believes.

So why bring it up now?

Anger. Frustration. Sadness. Worry. A belief that this would be a much more peaceful world if we could all just get along.

Anger that some feel it's absolutely acceptable to tell me that I'm "going to burn" because I'm a non-believer or that I'm in the "wrong" for believing that we as human beings deserve to make choices for ourselves. Frustrated because I've been told I support "murder" because I'm pro-choice and believe in health care reform. Saddened that I trusted people who turned their backs on me the minute they found out we were "different". Worried because posting this scares the crap out of me but fully believe that it's no longer time to be silent and that sometimes turning the other cheek really isn't fair.

But it's not about me. I've grown a pretty thick skin. I get it. I'm the crazy liberal, who doesn't believe in God, wants everyone to be able to marry whoever they fall in love with. I want everyone to have access to affordable healthcare and not worry about if they go to the doctor whether or not they'll be able to make a house payment. I want women to be able to make their own medical decisions with their doctors and not have to be subjected to unwarranted and unnecessary invasive procedures.

And really it's more than all of that. I'm tired. I am tired of the hate. I'm tired of the disrespect. The inability of some to look past themselves and to think about what it would feel like for someone to hurl those same words they throw (at people like me) back at them. I'm tired of the Facebook posts. The tweets and retweets on Twitter saying that I am (or again people like me) wrong for posting what I believe (or don't believe) because they don't fall inline with the norm (what is the norm anyway?!).

It's a pipe dream and an idealized notion of what could be. I know that I have my head in the clouds. I just want to live in a world where we accept one another for who we are as people. Deep down inside, whether you are Republican, Democrat, Liberal, Conservative, Socialist, Christian, Muslim, Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist, Hindi, Jewish or Mormon doesn't make a difference. What makes a difference is how we treat each other. Love and respect one another. 

11 comments:

  1. I agree with so much of this.

    And I'm way impressed that you were questioning religion and politics at such a young age. Then again, I knew you were pretty smart. :)

    I, too, am of the belief that we would all be much happier and content if we just accept that not everyone lives or believes the way we do. And that doesn't make either one of us bad people, as long as it's not hurting anyone, obviously.

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    1. Questioning things at that age is all fun and games until everyone hates you for the Santa Claus not being real part. :)

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  2. New follower from Julys hop. What a great hop!

    Love for you to stop by and return the follow when you can.
    Also hosting Mom's Monday Mingle now. Love for you to link up! Over 200 mom blogs so far. Love to have you!

    www.thenaptimereview.com

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  3. I share mostly different beliefs than you, but we do definitely have one in common: RESPECT! I've been saying this all along, too. I don't understand why everyone can't just respect others' beliefs. Furthermore, do they think that calling them names or constantly telling them they are wrong is going to bring them to their side? No. I was about to write a post along the same topic, although really from the other perspective. But the important thing is that I, nor anyone else, should forget how important it is to respect others. Thanks for sharing. New follower from GFC blog hop!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and the great comments!

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  4. Bravo!!! It always takes courage and guts to speak your mind. My best friend in high school was on the opposite side of every spectrum from me. Religious, political, you name it, we didn't agree on it. People always wondered how we were friends. Easy...you listen and learn from each other. If she didn't sway my opinion on something, she strengthened my belief in it. No judgement, just respect.

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    1. Thanks for the great comments! I have a friend (now) who is am constantly disagreeing with about the above topics, but we don't dwell on. We talk it out and move on because we respect each other as people and friends.

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  5. What an inspiring post!! It seems idealized now, but if everyone dared to think this way, maybe it could one day actually become a reality!
    I'm thrilled to be your newest follower and would love it if you could return the folow if you get the chance and wish to :)
    Best,
    Sapir @ smellthewildflowers.blogspot.com

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  6. i love love love that first quote!

    come say hi at nichollvincent.blogspot.com and have a great night!

    xo

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