Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Political Divide

In my public speaking class, which met last night, the students are preparing their persuasive speeches.  I sometimes think the whole class should be about these speeches, and I often feel they get short shrift, especially in an abbreviated summer class.  But it means we will talk about topics, and same-sex marriage always comes up.

I don't think my students understand I play devil's advocate a lot, nor do they understand my sense of humor, which is probably more like Stephen Colbert's than I want to admit.  I don't always say what I really feel or believe, and I try very hard to judge speeches by their merits, not by what the students express.  On this blog I say things that will probably get me in trouble. 

I remember back in the '70s Francis Schaeffer, a prophet I think, said that the modern world would be focused on the values of affluence and apathy.  This is another way of saying that most people, and I hear it in the words of my students, think in terms of getting ahead financially and not bothering other people (not wanting to take that effort) or being bothered by them (for decisions they have made, which also might include accountability for decisions they have made.  "That is someone else's right," they say, not really understanding what a right is and what rights we actually have.  It is extreme  individualism that has led to the apathy/affluence combination Schaeffer talked about.

I think the real political divide is extreme individualism vs. community, vs. what I want in the short-term vs. what is best for all in the long-term.  Is it best in the long-term for all that we abort our offspring? Is it best in the long-term that we have so many single mothers?  (studies are pretty clear it's not).  Is it best in the long-term that we redefine marriage.  Maybe it is, for some, although I think the same sex marriage debate shows that some of us put a meaning on marriage that the secular society does not.  To many, it is just a legal arrangement that gives people benefits but not much in the way of responsibilities; to others, myself included, it is the core of civilization and has deep personal, cultural, and sacred meaning.  However, I must admit that that view of marriage is in the minority any more.  Even in my Bible Belt classroom, the feeling seemed to be, oh,well, it's inevitable, it's going to happen no matter what, what people want to do is their business, it doesn't affect ME, I just don't want to hear about it any more, I'm tired to the talk."  How world weary!  But I understand it.  I said, if it's inevitable, why talk about it?  Why debate it?  We have no choice.


All that being said, I am not unsympathetic to the same-sex marriage proponents.  I see a lot of their points. And some of them are well meaning, non-gay people who have empathy for others, although I don't see this as a real social problem, not like true poverty or suffering in the rest of the world.    I guess it's just sad to me that there is no longer a consensus about things in this culture, not due to diversity but due to people being focused on themselves and being like the honey badger and not giving a ___ about the overall health of society.  (their attitude)

So, what I am saying is that the divide is between those who care about something other than themselves in the short-term and those who just define the world by their own perspective.

What should we do about the children coming across the border? Why not put them on planes and take them back to their home countries, and let Honduras and El Salvador figure out where to put them?  Why is that so hard.  Or put them up for adoption--that would stop it.  Our focus on non-existent rights has gotten us to this point.  Being humane is not the same as being pushovers.  Would we let people from Japan, Rwanda, Egypt, China, or Canada do the same thing?  Now, that's devil's advocate; we do need to be sure they are protected and fed but not assimilated.  It's not racist; it's good sense.

OK, I guess some people will be mad about my opinions, but I have to wonder why, if I am not mad at you about yours?  Because I have power?  Oh, please.  I have no power.

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