Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Rub

Most of the time all the political rhetoric and mudslinging falls off my back. Oh, it galls me, but I resist commenting most of the time, because, most comments are, a) made out of ignorance, b) made by ignorant people, or c) made by people who have already closed their minds to the matter. Commenting, while clearing my clogged vent pipe, is useless in that commenting is generally meant to be a response in an open dialogue. It is not a dialogue nor is it open when it originates from one of the three before mentioned places.

Now, by the mere fact the first phrase in the first sentence of this blog is 'most of the time,' we can readily conclude that this is not one of those most of the times. Regular readers of my blog can tell you where I stand politically. some can tell you where I stand religiously and morally. For you newcomers, Let me say that I an not a cookie cutter 'stamp it out' decision maker. I am generally well versed on subjects of politics, the economy (more than knowing the price of a gallon of gas in my neighborhood,) and religion. I have, in my lifetime, held various jobs and positions which include, but are not limited too:
Stock Clerk, Salesman, Electrician (union), Assistant Pastor, Teacher (public education), Cook, and various other jobs. This leads to my varied and various opinions.

I have not ever allowed someone tell me how to vote. I have in my 33 years as a registered voter, read the political slate that my union endorsed, and have voted my own heart, agreeing or disagreeing. I have listened to the advice and ramblings of religious leaders and heard their choices as to for whom I should vote. With them, I have equally voted my heart. I think the choice of who gets my vote in a political contest is one of the most important choices I make. It does not compare to choices I make daily concerning my children and my life, in as much as I make these decisions every few years instead of daily. However, the decision I make in 3 weeks will affect me for the next 4 years and beyond. Comparing to two are like comparing apples and oranges.

If I am deciding who will babysit my children, then certain issues are more important than others. In that decision, one issue can seal or kill the deal. If I am looking for a good mechanic, there are also certain things I look for, such as ASE certification, experience, product knowledge, and trustworthiness. If I am looking for someone to pal around with on Friday nights, other factors come into play.

To make the choice of who will be the leader of our country based on one issue is ludicrous. To decide who should be President based on any one issue is like deciding on who will work on my car based solely on his/her hair color.

Back to my original point: Someone sent me an email about one of the political candidates which stated the fact that this candidate was dangerous because of a book they were seen carrying. I, as I usually do, checked other sources to check the validity of this report. It was accompanied by a picture. The picture clearly shows the book. It is hard to cover that. However, the description of the book was wrong, and the premise of the book was attributed to an anti-American Muslim writer, which was wrong as well.

I could not contain myself. I responded to said email in a 'reply to all' fashion. I stated ion my response that the originally forwarded email was incorrect. I further stated that we need to be careful in how we judge others and upon what we base such judgements. The Bible says we will be judged with the same mercy with which we judge others. I was not mean or cruel in my response. I was informative and questioning.

A little while after sending the response, I got a call from the sender, in tears, asking me if she had offended me. I told her she had not. She was more upset, however, that I had used the 'reply to all' feature. This email was going to some of her family, which, in her words, were too young to understand. I was thinking, if they are to young to understand my response, aren't they too young to get the first email?

My questions is this, and here is the rub, If it is simple to check the validity of such emails, why forward them when you don't know if it is true or not? If we forward a lie, have we not lied? If we forward slander, have we not slandered?

Now, let me say this, I have made my decision as to who is getting my vote in the upcoming election. It was a decision I made based on a conglomeration of issues and concerns. It was not based on a political party's endorsement. It was not a down the line, agree with everything he says, decision. It was a decision that accounted for my political, economic, religious, and moral concerns. Unless some major new revelation occurs between now and election day, my decision is made.

I will discuss with anyone how I arrived at my decision. I will discuss with anyone how they arrive at their decision. I respect your right to have your own opinion regardless of how radically different it is from mine. I can be and am, friends with people that disagree with my views. It is one of my favorite freedoms. I cherish my right to hold my opinion without having to make you understand it, just as I cherish your right to have your opinion without having to make me understand it.

One should never ask a question if one is not prepared for the answer. In the movie, "A Civil Action," the character played by Robert Duvall told the character played by John Travolta, that a lawyer "should never ask a question you don't already know the answer too." I don't ask questions that I am afraid to hear the answer to. I don't always know the answer, but I am prepared, usually, for whatever answer comes.

Opinions are opinions. Opinions that have been proven are called facts. It is not my opinion that Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. It is a fact. It is an opinion that Booth worked alone. Facts that are misrepresented are lies. They are not opinions. Opinions based on these misrepresented facts are called opinions.

Anyway, each of you are entitled your opinion. I am entitled to mine.


Debbie said...

Good for you! I can't believe she would be upset that your replied to all. What she was upset by was that she would be found out by all to be so wrong.

Octamom said...

We've been very concerned at some of the mythology and fable being sent via the web to Christians that is full of misrepresentation and exaggeration. I can't remember an election in which people have sent around so much un-verified vitriol. I so agree with you, that we must be careful as believers to not perpetuate the slandering of someone, regardless of our political concerns and affiliations.