By Eric Lee
As I thought about what important topic I might write about, I was struck. There seems to be a widening gulf between political poles, and something key to the health and vitality of this nation isn’t making it across that chasm. I am talking about trust.
There is nothing wrong with disagreement. It’s healthy. Chances are, even if we are right, that our solutions could be improved upon. But in order to settle our disagreements and work towards solutions that work for this country, we have to trust that the people who are not directly aligned with us are working for the best interest of Americans. We have to understand how we are working for the best for one another. And that may just require getting to know one another a little better.
The Fillmore County Journal, and local publications like this, may be the best opportunity for us to listen to one another. Honestly, I have been very impressed, as a relative newcomer to the area, by the diversity of local voices represented in this paper. It is a remarkable thing.
I am a liberal. It’s true. I read these pages. And I even watch Fox News. And I often hear mischaracterizations of people like myself. I thought, what better place to clear some of these up than right here? Disclaimer: I do not, and can not, speak for all liberals, but I have spent a good deal of time examining, re-examining, tearing down, and rebuilding my own worldview. I have been a Libertarian (card carrying), and I have contributed to the Green Party. Now, I find myself a fairly run of the mill, if enthusiastic, supporter of the DFL, and the national Democratic Party.
I am liberal in many ways. I identify first as a Humanist, and I place great value in pluralism. I grew up Christian, and I will say that my greatest hesitancy to identify myself as a Christian in adulthood has been that Christian identity so frequently represents exclusion. Someone trumpets their Christianity as a way of signaling that they are not Muslim. They are not Buddhist. They certainly are NOT atheists. And frankly, if anything, my Christian upbringing, progressive as it was, called me, above all, to love. To love unconditionally. The call to love is not exclusive. That call extends to every human being regardless of race, religion (or lack thereof), sexuality, gender, wealth, status, or ability. It calls me, particularly, to love those who are most in need.
Now, this is where I would like to address the biggest straw man I find liberals have to contend with. Believing that there is value in anyone’s search for meaning and truth in the world does not, I repeat, does NOT leave us in a world of absolute moral relativism, where we are simply free to choose our own morality.
My morality may first have been formed by my family, and by my church community. But I also delved into the moral abyss that is the discipline of philosophy. And even if we simply consider ourselves as animals, motivated by our own self-preservation one can certainly arrive at a firm moral code simply through reason.
It makes sense that we conserve energy and resources, for our own good. If we don’t agree on modes of behavior, and respect towards one another, not to murder one another, to injure one another, or to disrespect one another’s bodily existence, then we are forced to exert more of our own energy on watching out for our own security and survival. Once we have agreed on these codes, laws, then we free up our energy for far more interesting, and creative pursuits. Such is, could, or should be the wonder of the present age.
Anyway, this is a little about me, just one liberal among many, and a concerned American citizen, who, regardless of your political affiliation, cares very much about your health, well-being, your security, and your stability. Maybe I can let readers know a little more, in the future. And I’m anxious to keep finding out more about everyone else. Peace, love, and joy to you.