Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Reminder for My Conservative and Liberal Friends

If you are a political or religious conservative that does not mean that ipso facto you possess the truth (truth being defined as that which corresponds to reality). If you are a political or religious liberal/progressive, you don't either.
If you are a conservative you simply look for or at reality, that which is true, through a different lens than does the loathsome liberal.  If you are a liberal, you haven't reached a state of enlightenment, positioned far above the knuckle-dragging conservative.  You both are simply viewing something differently because you have chosen differing lenses through which to look at life, politics, and faith.  Even though you loudly insist otherwise, you really don't absolutely know that your lens is not distorted.  In fact, since it is a mere lens, distortion unavoidably comes with the glasses.  NO ONE sees or understand clearly and perfectly. But you talk as though you do see and know it all and you are becoming obnoxious and abrasive. Could you please exercise some humility when you make your pronouncements? 
BOTH lenses are distorted.  The conservative lens, just because it is conservative, does not see more light than the liberal lens.  The liberal lens, merely because it is liberal, does not therefore have a clearer glimpse of reality.  If you're a conservative it is a vantage point, a mere perspective from which you view life and faith. .Conservatism is not the truth; it is merely an angle , a vantage point from which you look at or for truth. Equally, liberalism is simply an angle, a "perch" from which you observe, as well.
Maybe this will help. There is a winding river, coursing through a deep canyon. Both canyon walls are covered with tall, dense brush, numerous trees and undergrowth.  A dense fog hovers over the river.  A conservative is perched up high on the right side (of course) of the canyon wall; a liberal (where else?) on the left.   Due to the terrain, the trees and undergrowth, and the fog neither the conservative nor the liberal can clearly see the river.  From their respective vantage points, they report, however, what they can ascertain about the river via sight and sound.  Their reports must be tentative, because their vantage points preclude absolute knowledge about the river.  In fact, there are days, due to the fog when they can't even see the river; they report only what they hear.
My conservative friend, you are looking at the river from a distance.  You are not in the river; you don't own the river.  So please quit acting as though you do.  
My liberal/progressive friend, you, too, view the river from an equal distance.  Neither of you are closer to the river than the other and therefore you cannot claim a clearer view.  So please quit parading your enlightenment.
Can you entertain the idea that your view does not constitute the river?  Your view of the river and the essence of the river are not one and the same.  Why do you pontificate as though they are?  
I ask you to exercise humility and whether a career conservative or a lifelong liberal can you treat the one with a different view in the same manner you treat your peeps who share your view?   
Your venom only further aligns those who already agree with you.  Your venom never--NEVER--convinces anyone who differs.  In fact, it further polarizes and alienates them from you.  And if that is all you are about--if that is how you roll--would you please secure your position on the canyon wall and engage in a silent retreat?
On the other hand, if you can engage in civil and respectful dialogue as you describe your view of the river, while simultaneously being willing to learn from the observer perched on the other side of the river as to what they are seeing, maybe our voices won't continue to drown out the roar of the river.