Monday, April 27, 2009

Wary Wisdom 4/27/09

To go against the dominant thinking of your friends, of most of the people you see every day, is perhaps the most difficult act of heroism you can have.

Theodore White
Ah, back again are you?
A "difficult act of heroism"? Now why should that be? What's wrong with thinking for yourself, having original ideas and expressing them? Why should that require bravery?

It might be because some people do it in a belligerent fashion. Instead of "I'd like to offer a different opinion." they say "Sorry, buddy, but you're wrong." Ot it may be because a person with a different idea can't express it as easily as someone can who expresses the common opinion armed with all the sayings and sound bites that accompany it. Most likely it is because the ones with the standard, chiseled-in-stone ideas are ready to do verbal battle with anyone who disagrees with them.

I once lost a friend because she found out that I had a political and social opinion that was different from hers. Losing a friend for that reason is an absurd experience, but what was worse is that she acted as if I had been hiding my beliefs from her when in fact the subject of politics had never come up in our conversations.
She just summarily and scornfully dumped me as a friend, and that was that. What a shame.

I knew a man in a small backwoods community, who held very strict political views. They were well known in the town and were known to be extreme. People knew not to bring up the subject of politics with him. If perchance someone disagreed with him the verbal abuse to follow was terrifying. But if one tried to argue the point with him that person's life might literally be in danger.

On the other hand, I knew two men who were the best of friends. They shared a lot of enjoyments and laughs together, and yet they had diametrically opposed views about politics. One was a far left liberal and the other a far right conservative.
One day we were sitting around talking and a mutual friend asked them how, given their differences, they could remain such good friends. One of them said something like: "I'm a bleeding heart, pinko, empty headed liberal and he knows it, and he's a heartless, lock jawed, cement headed conservative and I know it, and on that basis we get along just fine." The other one nodded in assent.

I don't know, but I tend to think maybe the world could breathe more easily with something akin to that style of light hearted bipartisanship.

Go get some rays.


Myra said...

Agree to disagree. I don't talk politics to very many people, especially my husband! But thats ok, we still get along!

Lisa said...

I myself know folks like you describe who feel they are right and there is no reason to even bring a subject up as their head explodes. It is silly. I have a number of friends whom I don't always agree with but we just let it go and continue on to a more mutual pleasing subject.

Beth said...

Yeah, there comes a time when you have to cut bait and run. I stop discussing any topic with someone as soon as I hear them say, "That's stupid" or "You're wrong." I want to say, "Really? Well, you're rude." I'm sure it wouldn't matter to them.

As for diametrically opposed friends or couples, just ask James Carville and Mary Matalin!

Hugs, Beth

Alice said...

Hi DB. Absolutely nothing wrong with thinking for yourself and if anyone disagrees with me on that, then they have an argument on their hands. Just kidding:) That's a waste of my time and they can waste their's on someone else. Great post!!!

Linda S. Socha said...

Well said. great post as always!

Rose~* said...

Try discussing different hockey teams around here, and you'll get many views. Most of the opinions lead to some good-hearted fun, but some do take theirs to the extreme.