.So here's the thing. I'm sitting here at my kitchen table with a giant bowl of popcorn in my lap with every intention of writing a new post. Unfortunately, I can't figure out how to phrase the thing that I want to phrase into any sort of format that would be coherent. There are so many weighted objects floating around in my brain, but none of them are willing to be fully discovered as of yet, so I can only guess as to their whereabouts and contents. Guess I might. Pardon the incoherency.
I guess I've been wondering what the point of being Right is, if the point if being Right is to be right(!). Does a person have more value if they agree with us? Or less if they do not? "Of course not!" you say, "how silly!" But then I ask you this: how many in your closest circle disagree with your core values? Sameness and closeness are not mutually exclusive...are they? Do we trust those that tell us what they really think, or do we trust those that tell us what we want to hear? On the flip side; how gently do we offer our opinion (because it is only that, at the base of it) to those who ask? Or do we even wait for them to ask?
I've also been thinking about wrongness, and who decides it. Surely there are books aplenty that guide us this way and that (some religious, some not). There are millions of people under one umbrella, millions under another, and millions who've claimed no land in the war. I suppose my big question here is this: when did belief in anything (be it a faith system, a cultural norm, a social system) become about the other person's wrongness, and has it always been this way? If we get enough people to salute us to the top of the podium; does that make us more right? Or just closer to the top of the podium?
Then of course, I have wondered about voices. How do we use them, and how do we hear well what the voices of others are saying without our own cloudy heads getting in the way? (are you offended that I called your head 'cloudy'?) Is a voice only as valid as its alignment with popular opinion? Or does a voice have value because it is and it is speaking? What makes popular opinion right, if that is what we call it; is that how we measure our moral code and the brilliance of our speeches? To what do we hold our standards, and to whom to we check ourselves in with?
The pull in culture as of late - as I have seen it - is toward a luminous middle ground; one in which we all agree with the other. I understand this to a certain extent. Those with strong opinions, more money and power, have spent much of history starting wars and killing shamelessly just to prove that they are right (or at least, that they are closer to the top of the podium). Of course we as a people - humans - are weary of the habit. So we make a collective motion in the great court room: if only we could all agree! Then the world would be at peace. So the fight, day in and day out, becomes about making the other person agree, or helping the other person see their wrongness.
But isn't the beauty of humanity that we are all different? That some believe in God and others think it's Hooey! That some hunt and fish for sport while others eat only green things? Some people only pray out loud and in front of other people and some people only pray in their rooms with their mouths shut, and some people pray at specific times of the day in certain rooms of the house, to a different God than their neighbors do. Some people get on hand and knee to tend to their lawns with nail clippers, while others let their lawns grow over and up the sides of the rusty car. Still others don't have homes at all, but wander willingly, living day to day by what they have, not by what they want. Some people think the Bible is literal while others believe it is a beautiful poem. Some people have a different Bible, while others prefer science fiction. Some people think Coke is better than Pepsi. Some are conservative, some are liberal; and some people think they are better than George Bush.
We learned long ago (and unfortunately some are still learning) that skin color and heritage were not dividing lines, but rather, beautiful marks of grace upon humanity. The human rights movement didn't try to make everyone the same; it valued the difference and taught others to do likewise. Martin Luther King Jr didn't kick people out of the room, he walked up to their doorsteps and into their streets and tried for conversation.
The worry as I see it, is that we've lost that humble ability. Our current culture calls for a crack down on difference, instead of a gracious understanding of it. Popular Fights are calling for silence from the other side. Anyone with a different opinion is a total idiot (put nicely) while anyone who agrees is the newest 15-minute hero. I admit it: I am afraid for a culture with no ability to reform or question the new limits (for fear or being kicked out of classrooms, for example).
Be strong enough to silence oppressors, YES, but do not be so weak that you silence opposition.