If we humans are good at anything, it is assigning names to things. Hey! According to the Bible, we were actually given that task. If so, we are doing our job and then some. But, oddly enough, the names we assign to things are often ambiguous in meaning and, frequently, we use them not just to describe something, but to disparage it. We label something in such a way as to allow us an excuse to avoid it or, for that matter, to embrace it. We may say we hate “country music” or love “goth fashion” but we say those things more to define ourselves than anything else.
Political labels are some of the worst. They frequently allow us the luxury of not thinking about a particular issue but simply embracing the views of those we have identified as being like us. That is important, not just as an intellectual shortcut, but also as a way to be sure that we continue to conform with the social groups with which we identify.
So let me do my best to alienate (or is that embrace) just about everyone. I am a liberal and I believe in the values of liberalism, namely reason, science, open mindedness and human rights. I am a conservative and I believe in the values of conservatism, namely valuing social institutions such as families and churches and believing in the value of hard work and discipline. I am a populist and I believe in the values of populism, namely that common people are frequently ignored and exploited by large institutions like corporations and banks and are often treated like trash. I have been a registered Republican and a registered Democrat. I am often the consummate politician and respect those who dedicate their lives to trying to fix the ills of society. I am also an anarchist and I believe that, fundamentally, the business of politics is violence and can not be justified.
I do not believe that there is one right way or one true path. I believe human beings can change and grow but that we are always going to be fallible animals who will do terrible things. I am a pessimist when I look around and see, not only the way we grow deeper in debt to one another, but also to our planet and its resources. But I am also an optimist as history teaches me, not only the evil that men do, but their enormous potential for good and their truly remarkable ability to overcome obstacles.
I do not choose to judge you by the labels that others have assigned to you. You are not your gender or your race or your religion. I may not like you but that will be because, like so many others, you irritate me. But, assuming you don’t irritate me too much, I will listen to you and try to learn from you. I will respect you as long as you respect me. I will say “please, thank you, and you’re welcome.”
I will also do my best to try and make sure you can never quite figure me out. In other words, I am going to try to avoid your labels by embracing them. I don’t want to be a stereotype, any more than you do. I am unique, just like everyone else. I am an individual and I will always embrace a world view that values individuals as individuals, not as the labels, labels, labels we give them.
Thanks again for reading and have a great week!