Thursday, September 6, 2012

An open letter to my conservative friends...

As the 2012 election progresses I find myself disheartened by some of the rhetoric from all sides. It's sometimes difficult to really understand where someone else is coming from simply by virtue of a few Facebook posts so I decided to share my heart here.

Dear conservative friend,

I apologize if the way I've expressed my political views has caused you to believe I don't respect yours. The truth is that until just a few years ago I was on your side, politically speaking. I even served as a co-chair in our county Republican party, dragging my kids to district and state conventions where they served as pages. I won't go into details right now about how and why my views changed (that's a topic for another post, another day) but suffice it to say I now consider myself a progressive or maybe even a "bleeding heart liberal". I know you don't really understand how that can happen to an otherwise reasonable person but let's set that aside for now. What I want you to know is that I believe our country needs both of us.

I acknowledge the need for fiscal responsibility and just like you, I believe a strong moral underpinning is vital for any society to thrive. We want the same end results although we may disagree on the path to achieve that end. I know I'm an idealist and it's likely that you find that difficult to relate to. However, just as our society needs people who will take a hard look at dollars and cents, it also needs people like me. And here are some of the reasons:
  • I know that poverty has a face and is not just a line item in a budget.
  • I passionately believe that music, art, poetry and dance are more than just decorative and that those shiny spokes add strength to the wheels of society. 
  • I look far into the future and envision a healthy planet where everyone has clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. And I'm just crazy enough to believe that America can lead the way in achieving this.
  • I see love between any two people as something to celebrate, honor and give respect to.
  • I look back and recognize how far we've come in accepting those of different races, religions and creeds while acknowledging that we still have a long way to go before those differences aren't just accepted but truly appreciated.
  • As a former nurse I can share stories which illustrate why it is vital that everyone have access to good healthcare without worrying about whether they can afford it. 
  • I see hard work as very important but only part of the equation leading to success. Fairness, opportunity and justice have to be factored in, as well. 
  • When you become convinced that the government can't do anything right, I'll tell you the inspiring story of a man who walked on the moon and how he got there. 
  • I believe that faith is personal and none of us can be 100% certain that our brand is the only real and true version, therefore everyone's beliefs should be respected.
  • I'm not afraid to wrestle with a philosophical question such as which lives have value. Neither am I willing to claim I hold all truth on the matter and that the rest of our citizens must adhere to my value system. 
  • I'm personally a bit of a loner and hate having to rely on anyone else. However I know that many things are best done in concert with others and that a healthy society is one in which the good of all is valued at least as much as that of the individual. 
  • I think teachers, nurses, factory workers, firemen, etc. are every bit as important as the suit-wearing man in a corner office and deserve the right to advocate for fair wages and working conditions. 
  • I am blessed (or perhaps cursed) with a greater-than-usual amount of empathy and the ability to see others as individuals rather than simply part of a group. It's much harder to dictate policy which will hurt people when you cease to think of them simply as "them". 
  • I love my country deeply and because of that I understand that others around the world feel the same way about theirs. And I think that's a good thing. 
  • I believe that in a democracy such as ours the government is us and not some ethereal "it".
  • I consider the paying of taxes a patriotic act as well as a charitable one. There are many societal benefits that would be virtually impossible to duplicate on a private basis. 
  • I'm an optimist. I don't think the sky is falling. I don't think we're going to hell in a handbasket. I don't believe there is some vast conspiracy to round us all up and put us in concentration camps. I believe in the strength of our nation and that we have more potential to do good than evil. 
You may not share these views, in fact, if you're one of the people I'm addressing this to, you probably don't. And that's okay; this is a big country and there's a place for each of us. I just hope you can agree that balance is important. Balance is good. Regarding relationships, I've often said that if both people are the same, one isn't necessary. The extrovert encourages the introvert to leave the house once in awhile. The organized one teaches the disorganized to put their car keys in the same place every night. Yin and yang and all that jazz. 

Yes, I'm an idealist and even a dreamer but Google "famous idealists" and ask yourself what sort of world this would be without those folks. So you keep doing your thing and I'll keep doing mine and together we'll make this world a better place. Deal?

Peace and love,
The Well-Groomed Hippie

"You may say I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one."


5 comments:

Colleen said...

Well said. I too have moved into a more liberal approach to life. Actually I used to be there, but then felt I was supposed to be more conservative when I became a Christian. Now I'm looking at what Jesus did and realize he was way more liberal than conservative.

Rosalyn said...

Good job!! I appreciate what you said and who you are...especially as my friend!!

Annie said...

Fabulous

Cherie said...

Beautifully put.

Sabine of Suburbia said...

Yes. Spot on.