Recently some friends participated in the Louisville Ironman. The swim is conducted in a river. We must presume they swim downstream, and not with the current.
Back in college our cross country team was hosting a few runners from a junior college. They came to visit the campus and joined us for a 10-mile run. Unfortunately, there were winds blowing more than 50 miles an hour. “This sucks,” one of the visiting runners said. “I’m never coming here to run.”
None of us likes to do our activities when the conditions make it even tougher than normal to swim, ride or run. If we had it our way all the time, the wind would always be at our backs.
That seems to be the way some people like to view the world. If they see an opinion that does not agree with their ideology, they would rather walk away than engage in a genuine discussion about the subject, or better yet, learn something from the experience.
Some people accuse me of being intolerant of conservative opinion on this blog. But there’s a difference between publishing your opinion and refusing to read anything by anyone that might contradict your own. I listen all the time to conservative radio, for example. And I read The Blaze and other conservative websites to see what they’re saying. And I can’t avoid the Fox News television blaring away at the health club I use.
Despite the claims of a so-called “liberal media” and bias against conservative causes, the facts point out something entirely different. The number of radio stations carrying liberal programming has dwindled thanks to station owners that don’t want that information getting out to the public. Television station ownership is similarly conservative, as are newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal. These are not liberal outfits. They are in the long run, conservative mouthpieces for policies in business, industry and the media that favor the interests of corporate conglomerates, monopolies and an oligarchic political system in America.
Today one of my blogs about sociopathic socialism was shared on a Tea Party site. I cannot presume to know whether they shared the piece on their site because they liked it or hated it. One can never tell. I’ll have to go see if there are comments. The wind of politics blows in many directions these days.
This much I can say. I did not arrive at my political views by accident, or without experience. Just as I did not become a runner or a cyclist and now a swimmer overnight, I have tested my opinions and digested a lot of information that runs counter to my principles. Yet I still read it, examine its merit and corroborate its fact or falsehoods.
And I have to tell you, there are a lot of obvious falsehoods, and opinion disguised as news.
One wonders how people make decisions on what to read. The number of people who follow this blog rises up and down every week. I’ve noticed a quick drop of 5-10 followers every time I post a criticism of some conservative policy. I also sometimes mock the sports I cover, and perhaps that pisses people off as well. Yet sometimes I write things and 20-30 new followers join the site in a week’s time. It’s hard to predict.
But it’s not hard to determine what I think.
I believe in the merits of an examined faith and political life. From an early age, my instincts for social justice have gravitated toward liberal policies because those are the values advocated not only by the Bible, but by the United States Constitution as well.
There are several definition of Liberalism. The first is that it is a political philosophy or worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality. The second is that it is a belief in the value of social and political change in order to achieve progress. The third, and equally valid definition of Liberalism is theology. “A movement in modern Protestantism emphasizing intellectual liberty and the spiritual and ethical content of Christianity.”
So those have been the foundations of my life, and none of these has been contravened by my participation in athletics. From a very young age, I learned there is a balance between individual achievement and sacrificing for the good of the team. These are both, according to the definitions of liberalism, good qualities for life and leadership.
It may just be my imagination, but not my fear, that some people drop off from reading this blog because I’ve offended them somehow. The winner-take-all atmosphere of politics in America has encouraged a watershed approach to how people engage in the information wars. People obviously tend to subscribe to websites that support their views and avoid those they find contentious or politically, religiously or economically offensive.
That’s not how I operate. I visit sites and articles that challenge my ideas. I’ll continue to profess what I believe and expect feedback from those who don’t share those views, and from those who do because I also believe in healthy debate.
I welcome both criticism and compliments. If you can make a case against what I say that makes rational sense, I’ll change my mind. But you’re going to have to work hard to do that, and argue with clarity and proof, because there’s frankly nothing in this world harder to be than a liberal.
Just ask Jesus, who taught us a few things about love and convictions of spiritual liberty in the face of aggressive authority and material law. He ran his liberalism up the old flagpole and got hung there by nails as a result. I buy that example because I’ve made a life’s study of the Bible and its symbolic virtues, all of which contribute to its greater understanding.
You can argue all you want that conservatism is somehow the better foundation for society, or that progress in moral and social equality is somehow bad for our culture. You can whine about missing the Good Old Days, but they were only good for a select part of the population. Liberals helped change that by advocating equal rights for people of color, for women and for people across the spectrum of sexual orientation. We’re not going to quit, you see. It’s the race that never ends. We may be dreamers of a sort, but we liberals have stamina, and are willing to use it.