Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Let Us Strive Not To Let Things...

...Be Our "Undoing."

Today, I read on someone's blog that a certain political ad had been her "undoing."  As this statement was a bit on the dramatic side, it got my attention and caused me to reflect.

Over the years, I have gone through many stages.  I don't have an extremely stable outlook on life.  Perhaps this is a bad thing, but it has also been an interesting ride.  I have gone from being a Reagan conservative to a liberal feminist to a Rush Limbaugh fan;  from a devout Catholic to a person who wanted to join the Anglican Church to a Latin Mass aficionado; from a public school teacher to a homeschool mom.  I have been on both sides of the political and religious spectrum.  Right now, I am pretty much in the middle.  I think that Ellen DeGeneres is the funniest woman on the planet.  I don't think the Catholic Church should be forced to pay for medical insurance that provides services that go against its teachings.  But, I also cheer on Ben McKenzie as he travels the country encouraging people to vote.  Yes, he's encouraging them to vote for Obama, but at least he is a classy guy.  And, even though I think Romney has a lot of good ideas, that whole 47% thing really, really pissed me off.  But, Obama's "guns and religion" comment from the last campaign pissed me off, too.

So, as you see, I am a person who is difficult to pigeon-hole.  Maybe I should be on meds...  Whatever.

Now -- back to the "undoing" thing.

How do we not allow other people and their opinions to be our "undoing?"

By looking for the virtue that most people have.  I am not talking about homicidal, child-molesting sociopaths here.  I am talking about your regular, mostly law-abiding citizens.  And, by and large, these regular, law-abiding citizens have within them goodness.  Seek out that goodness.  Appreciate it.  Enjoy it.  And try to stand, and I mean really stand, in the shoes of "the other" before casting judgment.  Before letting "the other" and his/her opinions be your "undoing."

I mean, even if you don't agree, can't you understand why a lot of people would think that it is only fair to allow gay people to marry?  I understand this.  And -- to risk being "excommunicated" -- there are some advantages I see to having gay marriage be legal.  When I was a young woman, living near San Francisco, the AIDS epidemic was in full swing.  And a lot of this epidemic was brought about because of people having sex that probably didn't involve a lot of commitment.  By allowing gay people to marry, the more conservative among us could figure it this way -- "at least the gay people are now being encouraged by our societal laws to form truly loving and lasting relationships." I also read the 2012 Democratic Platform yesterday.  And I discovered within it a statement that churches would not be forced to perform marriage ceremonies that go against their beliefs.  That's right.  I bet a lot of us didn't know this.

And on the other side of things, I hope the more liberal among us can see -- even if they don't agree -- that religious people might take it as a violation of their freedom to have to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives to their employees.  I mean, last time I checked, condoms were not that expensive and didn't require a prescription.  Yes, I have bought condoms.  They make great water balloons.  And yes, condoms are a bit of an effort to use as compared to some of the birth control methods that do require a prescription.  But at least, dear ladies, with condoms your eggs are not being used as the "chattel of the pharmaceutical companies" (favorite O.C. quote ever). 

With that being said, I really don't believe that Obama and his people are actively trying to persecute us religious folks with the "contraceptive mandate."  I think they are actually sincere in their ideas that this law is necessary for ensuring the well-being of women.  We may have a legitimate debate about how to define and bring about the true well-being of women in our society and in the world.  But, I am willing to concede that the Democrats truly want the best for women, so I am not going to villify their motivations.

So, as this election season -- thank the Good Lord -- draws to a close, I hope we will choose to see the good in others.  I hope that we will not jump to hasty and unfair conclusions about the motives of the "other side."  In my life (and this will probably be another blog post on another day), I have often been treated the most kindly by people with ideas that are very different from my own.  So, when I am tempted to become impatient and irritated at "wrong" ideas, I call this to mind.  And then I don't become "undone" -- by anyone or anything.  Usually, anyway. ;-)

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