The Long Version

Retired broadcast journalist. Blogging helps scratch the itch. Recovering exRepublican – Sober and still Conservative.

Archive for October 2019

Same Destination, Multiple Paths?

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Same Destination, Many Paths

A blog post by John Pavlovitz popped up on my social media. The headline grabbed my attention so I clicked.

It’s a nice, flowery, feel good post. It says the kind of things that make our brains produce a good dose of endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. The neurochemicals that make us happy and feel good.

So what’s wrong with that you ask?

Nothing, unless the flowers are covering the weeds. I’m not saying the article is an overt attempt to mislead or misinform. I’m sure the author earnestly believes in everything he wrote and how and why he came to his positions and opinions. But I don’t think he truly resides in the “Humane Middle” as he calls it. I don’t think he owns that real estate. I think he sits in the section of the bell curve the majority of us populate, if not more toward one side than the middle.

I believe Mr. Pavlovitz is an ideological leftist. I believe he is doing what ideological leftists do. He’s making a case to convince us and probably more importantly, those who share his worldview, their position IS the middle, the perfect balance, the ultimate destination, and if you aren’t just like them you’re simply “indoctrinated into a white nationalistic religion of malice.” Those are his words.

I don’t have a problem with people whose ideology is on the left side of the spectrum. If I was to pass one on the street I’d consider them with kindness and respect just like any other person walking that street. When I see people out and about I don’t see them as ideologues or members of a political party.

They’re just people. Like me.

I was taught to “Love my neighbor as myself” and I try to live that way. What I find problematic with folks of that ideological persuasion is they don’t seem to be satisfied just having their own ideas, opinions, and beliefs and simply expressing them. In my experience, those on the left, and more often the activist left, aren’t happy until you accept and adopt their ideas, opinions, and beliefs as your own and they won’t hesitate to apply social pressure, even force, to get you there. Because, from my experience and interaction with political liberals, they’re right and you need to come to grips with that and change.

They are so convinced they know better than you how to live your life, they are going to do everything they can to live it for you and it’s all wrapped in the name of compassion, love, and humanity. They’re kind and tolerant until you refute their doctrine. Do that and you’ll see another side and no smiles.

Mr. Pavlovitz took an inventory of his positions. It’s a nice list that resembles what one might think Utopia is made of. He believes his list is “the list” everyone should have because, again, he’s in the middle. If your list isn’t like his, you’re the problem.

So, I decided to go ahead and do the same inventory to see how extreme I am, but I’m going to explain the what and why of each point, how I got there and what makes me believe the way I do. That’s something Mr. Pavlovitz doesn’t do and I wish he did. But I believe if he got into the nuts and bolts of each item on his list he’d soon find himself well beyond the middle and it would ruin the entire thesis. How do I come to this conclusion? Read his other writings…

So let’s compare Mr. Pavlovitz’ “extremism screening list” with mine.

John: I believe in full LGBTQ rights.
Me: I believe in basic human rights. I don’t subscribe to the idea that different groups of people have different rights or more rights or less rights than any other. I believe every human being has a right to life, liberty (freedom to choose their life path), and the pursuit of personal happiness under the rule of law. I believe in equality of opportunity, not outcomes.

John: I believe we should protect the planet.
Me: I believe we should be responsible stewards of the planet and all it provides. I’m certain we have very different ideas about what that means and how that can and should be achieved. We probably agree that people have and do exploit this planet’s resources and far too much is wasted and misused.

John: I believe everyone deserves healthcare.
Me: I believe everyone should have access to healthcare. I do not subscribe to government run healthcare. There are better and far more efficient alternatives and they must be made available in the marketplace preferably at the community level. Health-share programs are providing a glimpse into how that might work. A public safety net for those who are truly unable to afford or provide for their own healthcare is a must but not how we currently fund and operate it. For any system like this to work it requires a high level of integrity and honesty amongst the populace. That’s just one reason our current system is broken. 

John: I believe all religions are equally valid.
Me: Valid is an interesting term to use here. Validity doesn’t necessarily equate goodness for humanity. I believe any religion that teaches love and respect for all people, service to others, self-restraint, self-reliance, chastity, temperance, charity, humility, kindness, patience, diligence, et al, brings good to all humanity and has value. Religions that violate free agency and seek to control adherents have no value in my opinion.

John: I believe the world is bigger than America.
Me: Yep, the world is big. But at this point in our development as human beings, national borders are still a reality and necessity. Until we stop dividing ourselves into tribes with hard ideological segments that’s not going to change. The wide spectrum of ideological differences in this big world require them. I am an American. I love my country. I will protect and defend my country from any who would harm it or the way of life we enjoy. I do not have ill will toward any other nation or people. I will make my country the best I can within my sphere of influence. I believe our constitution is an inspired document containing principles that, when followed, lead to greater happiness and prosperity as a nation. We, as a nation and a people, aren’t doing that right now which has lead to the place John is feeling squeezed.

John: I believe “pro-life” means to treasure all of it.
Me: I believe in the sanctity of human life at any and all stages of development. While I believe life is sacred, I believe the choices of those who willingly and knowingly take a life should have grave consequences up to and including paying for their crime with their own. I believe life begins in the womb. Once that life is created I believe we have a moral obligation to assure that human being has all the rights available to any of us and should be protected. I believe there are exceptions with regard to abortion, which John appears to be couching in this item, but they should be rare and few. 

John: I believe whiteness isn’t superior and it is not a baseline of humanity.
Me: This one tells me how far to one end of the spectrum John really is. I don’t know ANYONE, nor can I say I have ever met ANYONE who believes “whiteness” is superior. Those with John’s political and ideological views would have you believe white supremacy is a massive problem by scale. It’s not. But they have convinced themselves that the election of Donald Trump is proof that half the people in this nation are white supremacists. Hence the need to make that statement in his list. NO SKIN COLOR is supreme. Such a radical view is a tiny minority in this country. See point one.

John: I believe we are all one interdependent community.
Me: Yes. But language barriers, cultural differences, religious beliefs, and our propensity to judge each other makes harmony on a large scale difficult, but not impossible.

John: I believe people and places are made better by diversity.
Me: I believe if we lived by the golden rule, it wouldn’t matter what mix of ethnicity, ideology, lifestyle, et al in our communities, places of employment, cities, states, or countries. We can and should be able to get along and work for the common good of everyone. Live and let live. However, diversity for diversity’s sake is a mistake and is counter productive. It creates an environment of preferential treatment which goes against human nature and the concept of fairness. This conclusion comes from people with much higher credentials, more academic placards, and greater influence than I.

John: I believe people shouldn’t be forced to abide by anyone else’s religion.
Me: No one should be forced to believe or live any religious tenet. I don’t believe anyone is. I believe this is an extreme Left view and is patently false. Just because religion and religious belief is around you and you are exposed to it doesn’t mean you are being forced to abide by any religion. In fact, we are seeing converse examples of this extreme view as the Left attempts to force people of faith to abandon their religious beliefs so as not to “impose” upon those who don’t share them. They tend to twist the concept of separation of church and state into something none of the framers of our constitution ever said or imagined. Numerous court cases in recent memory validate this trend in secular society.

John: I believe non-American human beings have as much value as American ones.
Me: I absolutely agree. Until they come to America, break our laws, and/or threaten American lives in any way. Then they, by choice, devalue themselves and we must uphold and sustain our laws to protect our rights as citizens and the privileges citizenship has in our country. Others are welcome to come and enjoy the fruits of this nation. All I ask is that they do it legally, contribute while here, and be inclusive and welcoming to those unfamiliar with their unique cultures and ways and vice versa. I’ve lived in another country for an extended period of time. The non-Americans seem to understand this better than most Americans and expect the same behavior from us while living in their countries.

John: I believe generosity is greater than greed, compassion better than contempt, and kindness superior to derision.
Me: All true. Now how do we get worldwide adoption and practice?

John: I believe there is enough in this world for everyone: enough food, enough money, enough room, enough care – if we unleash our creativity and unclench our fists.
Me: I believe there is tooI see this every day. I see people helping people, sharing their abundance, teaching principles of self-reliance which creates a “can do” attitude and magnifies self-confidence, but that’s not what gets the headlines. The headlines scream the opposite incessantly which leads many people to think that’s the norm. It’s not. But that’s how people tend to see it and for Liberals it seems to really spike the emotions. They seem to see the world only as reported on TV or Twitter. With emotions revved to maximum capacity the finger pointing begins and since they see themselves as “knowing better than you” they blame you, the ones who see the world differently and believe differently (more diversely), than they do. That almost seems contradictory to what they publicly say though doesn’t it? We agree on this point, but he seems to not see the forest for the trees.

Bottom line: Anyone can create a list of platitudes without explanation or detail to provide context or reveal intent and make it sound amazing, wonderful, and woke. But doing so doesn’t place you in a position of neutrality to say “see, I’m the middle. I’m in the place where everyone should strive to go.” I’m sorry but you don’t get to determine where the center is. Neither do I. That, in and of itself, is a journey of discovery.

Frankly I’ve always seen those in the middle, the centrists, the moderates, to be little more than fence sitters. People with their finger in the air waiting for the popular winds of change push them toward a decision, or to take a position, or make a stand. If that is where you plant your flag, I see you as wishy washy and indecisive. Besides, walking or sitting in the middle of the road tends to get one run over.

When we dig down to find that bottom line, I believe Mr. Pavlovitz is trying to get to a place we all want to exist. One that is full of kindness, love, abundance, and void of envy, hatred, and poverty. The perceived difference for me and conservatives like me, is Mr. Pavlovitz and liberals like him think their way of getting there is the only way and if you’re not doing it their way, well, you’re a lesser being by comparison. In fact, you may be relegated to something white and undesirable measured only by how you vote or don’t…

Mr. Pavlovitz appears sanctimonious to some extent. But to him and those who share his views, I’m certain I’m the sanctimonious one. Or just a “bitter, ignorant cretin, Trump-asslicking loser” as articulated by singer/songwriter Richard Marx on Twitter when I disagreed with one of his angry hostile profanity laced political tweets about the president. In fairness I started the feud. I’m not proud of the tweet that started it and in hindsight wish I hadn’t reacted the way I did. See what happens when we assume “we’re” right and “they’re” wrong?

I really do believe I want what Mr. Pavlovitz wants and what Mr. Marx (the singer not Karl) wants and what everyone in the middle of that bell curve probably wants too.

I sincerely do.

If our political, social, and ideological positions didn’t get in the way, we’d likely be a lot closer than we are.

Written by DCL

October 23, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized