Over the years I have heard it said in different ways and in different situations that if you want to avoid confrontation, argument or heated discussion avoid the topics of politics, religion and the Green Bay Packers. The third topic is one that I generally do not shy away from especially when around Minnesota Vikings or Chicago Bears fans; however when it comes to religion and politics I do tend to avoid those conversations.
I keep to myself because even at this point in my life I am not sure what to say about the topics, I don’t hold hard and fast on either topic to what my beliefs are, to some that is an issue. For me, it’s just who I am.
When it comes to politics I don’t vote along party lines, I have tried to look at what the individual stances of the candidate are and make my decisions based on that. I fully admit that it becomes more difficult all the time to separate the party from the person, but at least in every presidential election there has been one thing or another that has swayed my vote on an individual.
When it comes to local elections where it has been more difficult to know who the candidates are as individuals, I generally have never voted for an incumbent. My logic behind this is pretty simple, I believe that a blend of individual perspectives is much better than a continued single stream of thought and I believe that in almost every situation.
A caveat to all of it, if I get a call from any politician after 9pm or they bother me at home they generally do not get my vote. Some will call that a waste of a vote, but it’s my choice on how I vote. It’s a right that my Grandpa B fought for and I believe in.
So what else to I believe in when it comes to things of a political nature. Very simply I believe in individual freedoms. I don’t have a strong opinion of how much government is too little or too much, because I think every situation and every time may have a different answer. I would loosely compare this to being your dad, I generally want to let you always make your own choices; but when you don’t know enough about something I need to know that and know when to help you out. People in general, including me, don’t always know what is best for them and I hope that government realizes where that is the case in situations where they can help.
In addition to the privilege of freedom, I also look for government to ensure our safety. I’m honestly more concerned about our domestic safety and local law enforcement than the need for us to play the world police, but I’m not sure how the good old US of A can get out of that position. In the recent years I think that a lot of good has happened from US involvement in foreign conflicts, but I think the cost of all that good has yet to be seen.
Then there’s religion. I went to Catholic schools from 1st grade through high school. I stopped going mass regularly when I was 13 years old because I couldn’t get my head around the fact that people felt they could break any of the then commandments and by going into a closet and telling a priest that they did it, asking the priest for forgiveness and then saying a few prayers they were forgiven. I still don’t quite get it and I know I’m oversimplifying, but I’m a simple person.
I also got asked to stop coming to theology classes in 10th grade when I started challenging the interpretation of bible stories based on other stories within the bible. My theology teacher said that I had the best grasp of the bible that she had ever seen and that I was taking away from her ability to teach the other students who didn’t have that level of understanding.
Both of those things probably would give you the impression that I am anti-religion or anti-catholic, but that’s not the case at all. Very much like politics I feel people have choices when it comes to religion including the choice to not have one.
Do I believe in a higher power, greater meaning to life, that there is something beyond our time on earth? I kind of hope so, but I want to make the best out of the life I have here on earth just in case there is not. What I think is important was kind of encapsulated in a quote I saw this week:
The quote might lead some to think they have my political and religious stances figured out and that is their choice to think what they want to.
I hope your mom and I give you the freedom to choose and the exposure and experiences to have the ability to choose when it comes to politics, religion and anything else. Although I’ll do everything within my power to hopefully make sure you choose the Green Bay Packers.