Oct 12, 2008

Political Musings and Dodging the Soapbox.

I had determined to keep the idea of politics out of my blog, but today I seem to be finding myself taking a slight departure from that rule. And while I certainly don’t intend to get up on a soapbox and start preaching my ideals to the masses, I couldn’t help myself from musing at my own political convictions.

Growing up, I considered myself conservative, a staunch republican. Laughing at myself now, I realize I had absolutely no clue what that meant or how to represent that in my life. My, oh my. How things have changed.

Now, I don’t know that I am really a democrat. I don’t know that I am a liberal. I don’t even know if I would be considered independent.

So, now that I have figured out exactly what I don’t know, lets get down to what I do know. I know that I am not a typical, right wing, conservative republican. Not by a long shot. One of the things I have learned about many conservatives is they are very narrow-minded. There is no room for deviation from the standard party-line-of-thought-that-we-all-belong-to-and-must-conform-or-you-are-an-outsider point of view (ok, that was a mouth full). And perhaps that isn’t a fair representation of the conservative crowd as a whole. But, unfortunately, there are many people out there who portray that line of thought and simply make me feel like there is no room for one such as I in the Republican Party.

A few examples:

1 – I am for the death penalty. Certainly not a liberal point of view.
2 – I firmly believe should a man and another man, or a woman and another woman, want to marry, I am not the one to tell them they can’t. Certainly not a conservative point of view.

While one conviction has nothing to do with the other, they are at odds with the standard Political Party beliefs. To many, it seems you cannot be one and the other. There is one way, and no other way, and to believe in both simply makes you undecided and the focus of intentions to sway your wayward opinion to one side or the other.

I don’t know that these are any radical points of view; in fact I am sure they are not. There a thousand people out there who would jump to support either conviction and just as quickly denounce the other. That is simple politics.

What really chafes, and to date I don’t know of any ointments to relieve this particular burn, is they way people are treated for holding to their convictions. I hate religious zealotry and political fanaticism by way of bumper sticker and yard sign. If you live your life by your convictions you shouldn’t need a bumper sticker to be pegged as a certain type of person. It should be obvious. Yet it is the guy in the old VW bus with 8 thousand bumper stickers who quickly yells at me for driving a vehicle that is not friendly to the environment. As far as I know, the emissions from my truck are probably not much worse, if at all, than his dilapidated old touring van. At the same time, the religious zealot with all the “God loves me” bumper stickers is the first to yell at me for having friends who are of an alternative life style. Does God love anyone less simply because they don’t conform to the standard of Christian living?

I fear I might be on the soapbox, if so I apologize. I certainly don’t mean to criticize or condemn anyone for his or her own convictions. Our convictions make us who we are, and how we conduct ourselves. I have mine. I try to hold to them in everything I do in life. I hope, those that know me, know my convictions simply because of me, not because I have bumper stickers on my car and political signs in my yard.

Perhaps, one day, there will be no need for these bumper stickers and yard signs, and the general discontent that comes from opposing views and people who are unable to cope with another person’s opinion. Until then, I will live my life as I see fit. I will respect those that differ from me, and vote according to my convictions, which are mine and mine alone.

That’s who I am. Thanks for tuning in.


  1. Well said, and it wasn't a soapbox! :) I consider myself conservative and republican. Do I like all other Republicans and all other Conservatives? Absolutely not. Do I have Democrat and Liberal friends? Yes! Do we talk politics? Usually not. I think I fall into a category that I like to call the "silent majority". We are people that believe in strong family values and spend our time working hard, raising families and giving service to others in our local communities. We don't have much time for "protests" or "lobbying" or the resources to go on "global humanitarian missions", per se, but we go about living our lives the best we can and hope the government stays in the background as much as possible. Maybe I'm stereotyping myself into a "group", but that's how I see myself at this point in my life... who knows, maybe when I'm dad's age, I'll change from "red" to "blue"... but not yet... :)

  2. Adam, your dad here. Interesting comments. I am a little unclear if one bumper sticker sticks in your craw, or does it take a '64 VW bus covered with stickers to get a negative response? I enjoy seeing an Obama 08 sticker on a car--it tells me that the driver and I have something in common. And an occasional yard sign or bumper sticker may be the only way that we might have to demonstrate something about our beliefs, if it were not for our blogs! Case in point, you and Christy have some differences in beliefs that would not be readily apparent if you both hadn't discussed them in your blogs. You are both part of the "silent majority" most of the time. It is gratifying to me that you both have feelings you can articulate. I would rather you feel strongly on one side of an issue or the other, rather than not feel at all. Christy mentioned that when she is my age maybe she will change from red to blue. I have changed over the last few years, and I am not opposed to discussing it with anyone. As a fiscal conservative, and a social liberal, I have found that I fit better with the Dems than the GOP. I think that the GOP has changed too, much to my chagrin. But to not vote, or vote for an independent candidate that doesn't have a prayer of winning, is a cop out, in my opinion. There are some vert important choices in this election.

  3. Here here, my good friend VOR. Very well said, and not just because I agree with you! My favorite bumper sticker: "Jesus is Lord." REALLY?! Well thanks for clearing that up for me because I had it all backwards. I thought Lord was Jesus. Thank whatever deity or lack thereof one chooses to worship I got to drive behind that person to work or I'd still be in the dark about that. And if I am the passenger pleasantly riding along not looking at bumper stickers, there are a couple of signs posted in trees coming into McKinleyville for my edification. As a side note to that, one of these signs was in a tree you could see while crossing over the Mad River bridge back at the end of last winter. Part of the sign broke off so that for a long time it looked like it said, "Jesus is Lop." Very profound I thought.

    Nice blog, VOR! Look how you got us all typing away in response!


  4. Viva la difference! But, I think around this time of year passions around candidates and issues start to run so high, that it all can seem pretty annoying if you haven't declared yourself for a "team." I don't have a problem with someone declaring their support for a candidate or an issue. It's a way of saying "this is what I believe is right and I hope that perhaps you might consider it too." I mean, it's election season and there are some big issues on the line. People need to take an interest - whatever side of the fence they are on.

    And if you haven't decided which side of the fence you're on, consider yourself pretty special because most of the post-convention is election season is all about trying to woo you. Heck, y'all get invited to sit on panels and operate little gadgets during the debates. :)

    But, what I'm hearing from you is that you can't stand the hypocrisy of someone declaring their faith or belief on their bumper, yet acting in direct opposition. I think faith is far too personal, and dare I say, sacred, to be splattered across a bumper. In the case of faith, you gotta walk the walk, otherwise your talk is just meaningless, ya know?


You went to all the trouble to get yourself here, you might as well say something about it.

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