I’m blessed to be surrounded by very intelligent, savvy people. I spent one weekend a month for the past four months (kinda like the military reserves, huh?) at a lodge outside Turner, Oregon, learning how campaigns work, how fundraising happens, learning more about the Constitution, learning about Republican party history, how to network better, and having the most stimulating conversations concerning the issues of our day.
I love my family, don’t get me wrong. But they really don’t “get this” … they put up with me and my postings on FaceBook (FB), they put up with me going to politically-themed meetings, they put up (barely) with me bringing up political issues at home … yes, they roll their eyes. But this is something I care deeply about.
A dear friend said, “It’s like politics has become your religion or something.”
No, politics has not become my religion. My “religion” is Christianity, my faith is in Jesus Christ as my risen lord and savior … my cause has become to get up, speak up, and take a stand … to wake up the Narcoleptic American Sheeple … to get them to pay attention to what’s going on and get concerned to the point where they begin to take a stand and speak up, too.
I realize that this concern can cause some anxiety. I’ve had my share of anxiety since I “woke up” … and once you wake up to what’s going on around you, you can’t go back to sleep again. I’ve tried. I’ve taken “time off” …. a “break” from current events and the American political theater … I eventually come back after having read some nonfiction books to give my brain a break … but I can’t shut it out completely.
There’s tooooooo much going on. There’s too much at stake. There’s a risk in going back to sleep, and I’m not prepared to take that risk.
People will say to me, “Hey, you’re a Christian. Christians don’t pay attention to or talk about politics. They’re supposed to love everyone and not judge anyone. What do you think you’re doing? All you’re supposed to be doing is loving everyone and praying all the time.”
Yes, I’m a Christian. I’m not *of* this world, but I live in it. While I believe we’re supposed to love people, I don’t believe we’re required to love everything they do. Yes, I pray for people. Heck, I even pray for Barack Obama (and his good health) … I pray that he’ll have one term, that we’ll be delivered from him and what I believe are bad intentions for our country, and that he’ll have a change of heart and mind. I pray for our leaders that they’ll come to their senses and actually *lead* with *wisdom*.
As for judging … c’mon … face it … we all make judgments every single day. Whether you judge for yourself that you’d prefer to cook or order take out, to wear long or short sleeves that day, to have a glass of wine or a glass of soda … to let your child partake of risky activities … you’re making judgments. Making those judgments keeps us alive. Hopefully you’re making positive judgments, but you’re making judgments.
Don’t confuse that for passing judgments. I may judge for myself and my family those behaviors that I don’t want them to emulate because I think they’re detrimental. But that doesn’t mean I’m passing judgment on those that practice those behaviors. That’s between the person and the courts … or between them and God. If I choose not to associate with people who practice what I consider to be bad behaviors, that’s not passing judgment on the person, that’s judging whether I want to be around that behavior.
Should I sit down, shut up, play nice, and “go along to get along?” No, I don’t think that’s productive. There’s time for relaxing (that’s when I listen to a favorite TV show or movie and work on a crocheted doily … they can be very challenging). But I can’t do that all the time.
I have family members that believe I should share nothing but pleasantries or family news here and on FB. They think I shouldn’t share quotes I find, even if I find them interesting …. Because they might cause discomfort in those that read them. For example, my daughter shared with me a quote by Oscar Wilde that said, “To lose a parent is tragic. To lose both just looks like carelessness.” OK, I really enjoy a good play on words … that said, I still have three of my parents (I got them the old-fashioned way – through the broken-home system), so I didn’t take it in the classic sense of having “lost” one’s parents in death … well, not entirely. The first part yes, the second part no. However, this family member (and his sister) decided I was horribly insensitive. I didn’t make the original quote; I simply shared it. But, apparently, it was insensitive to share it with anyone else. Perhaps I shouldn’t share my favorite Groucho Marx quote, either, ‘cause it might be insensitive to dog lovers. (“Outside of a dog, a good is man’s best friend; inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”)
Nope, I’m paying attention; I’m sharing whatever I find. Here you will find an eclectic mix of news, humor, tidbits, occasional personal stuff, links, YouTube videos … I don’t set out to make people angry. If people get angry at what I post here … personally, that’s on them. Anger is just as much of a choice as are happiness, depression and boredom. It’s time to quit choosing to accuse those around us of *causing* us to feel a certain way. Your feelings are your choice. (That’s something I have to work on every single day.)
But lately, I’m surrounded by other Republicans, all of them Conservatives (thank God!), and most of them intelligent and able to discuss Constitutional issues, national issues, regional issues, social issues … from differing perspectives and histories, not always coming to the same final conclusion … and all without coming to blows. I’ve yet to see a Conservative launch himself or herself across the table at someone who disagrees with them. I’ve yet to hear Party A devolve into personal attacks because Party B challenged a statement and Party A ran out of arguments. Party A regroups and comes back with another observation to support his/her position …. And we learn from each other and we grow.
So, I’ve been networking, learning from others, and continuing to “learn what I already know” … well, at least I hope I am. I’m glad to be able to understand more fully what I’ve always believed and to know why I’ve believed it and how to communicate it more clearly.
As of last weekend, those weekends came to an end. I graduated from the program (and forgot my completion certificate at the lodge … with the group picture in it!), and I’m going to miss those dear people sooooo much … Greg, Rick, Trudy, Gladys, Jaynee, Tyson, Becky, Rose, Marshall (*such* a bright young mind!), Jeff, Kerry & Stuart. And a special thanks to Ames & Dama for putting us up .. and putting up with us!