Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Tribute to My Conservative Friends

Various recent events have conspired to make me think about my conservative, often religious friends.  I have to admit to being vexed occasionally by your responses to my postings.  At times, my comments and responses may not be as appropriate as they should be.  But I wish now to apologize to you all if I've managed to offend you in the process of our interactions.  Such is not my real purpose, no matter what my intentions might have been at the time.  The very thought of the sterility of a world in which everyone agreed with me is so awful as to make me shudder.  Yes, I must admit I've posted various Facebook memes that are more or less pure propaganda for my particular world view.   To some extent, I do so as much to stir the pot as to reinforce the ideas within those memes.  If it's any consolation, there are many more I don't share, as they say or imply things with which I disagree strongly enough to put me off them.  Often I'm just interested in what responses from you I might get - I want your feedback!

Please don't assume I'm tarring everyone with the same brush, even when I don't say so explicitly.  If some extremist doesn't represent your world view, you don't need to remind me of that fact.  A reasonable assumption is that I already know that shoe doesn't fit you.  If I thought you were an extremist, there's a high probability we wouldn't be friends! 

It's not my goal to convert all of you to my way of thinking.  First of all, knowing you, that would be an impossible goal, anyway.  And at this moment, I'm  distinctly grateful for your rational responses and counter-arguments.  There are times when I wonder at your stubborn insistence on believing in your particular world view, until I realize I'm equally stubborn about mine!  To the extent that we can continue to have mostly civil discourse is a great gift, and I respect your truly inalienable right to your own opinions and interpretations.  I benefit from the discourse, and I hope you feel the same way.  I enjoy our point and counter-point arguments.  I value the information you provide to me in an effort to show how wrong, or misguided, or misinformed I can be.  The fact that we continue to disagree about issues we deem to be important should not interfere with our ability to get along as friends.  I hope you've received something of value from what I've posted, even if we continue to disagree.  I hope that our clashes over important issues haven't destroyed our personal relationships.

There's a famous old tale about an emperor and his new clothes.  The moral of that story is clear, and, hence, I have no wish to be surrounded only by those who agree with me about everything.  I have no interest in succumbing to confirmation bias.  I value your opinions and your willingness to do your best to put me on what you believe to be the "correct" path, even when we disagree about what path is indeed correct.  How awful it would be to speak and only hear echoes in return! 

I'll try to remember this blog when I respond to your comments, but of course, in the heat of a moment, I may allow exasperation and the appearance of disrespect to creep into what I say.  If so, I trust you will remind me of this blog, and call me out.  Of course, I reserve the right to do likewise, if I deem your comments to be disrespectful or inappropriate.  And you and I likely will continue to disagree about important issues.  The beauty of our Constitutional form of government is that it relies on people who can disagree about issues, but who respect each other as fellow human beings.  There is no need to let divisiveness divide us as friends.  Our nation works to the extent that we can disagree about particular topics but still want our nation to be successful and for all of us to as prosperous as possible.