What will it take to move you, to move US, from a place of certainty, to a place of openness to evidence, to a place of possible changed opinion?
As we stumble through this ghastly election battlefield, I keep coming back to that question. My FaceBook feed is full of political memes and messages regarding candidates; their potential benefits to the nation, their views and more often, their missteps and political sins.
What do we think we are accomplishing when we post these images and words? I suspect we hope we may make someone think; that we might just offer an issue that generates pause and causes them to research and truly consider their vote. We want to make a difference. We hope to gain another voter, perhaps, that sways the election in the direction we desire.
But how many are those among us who will truly free themselves from ego and conditioning to critically analyze the information? I remarked yesterday that I grew up in a staunchly republican home. My dad was pro anything the professional republicans promoted. I fear his loyalty was more based on identity and emotionality than researched ideology. That makes me sad.
But the truth is, I was so indoctrinated that I thought words like "democrat" and "left" were dirty until I was older and in a place to think and research for myself.
Neither "democrat" nor "republican," "left" nor "right" are dirty words. Alliances that are well thought out and researched are respected by me and others who are capable of exercising their muscles of critical thought.
Are you open to evidence? Are you willing to research and critically asses the information put before you? Are you able to resist the mob rule of the American political climate? Can you put space between you and your ego and make a well-considered choice?
Below is a bit of a post I wrote a few years back regarding knowledge of the universe and its laws. But it applies to the political landscape as well, and is appropriate now as we consider our political opinions and alliances:
"We are an arrogant lot. We think we know; we think we understand. I'm pretty sure we don't understand much of anything. I suspect we get about one half of one percent of what there is to know...if that. My opinion is not that we're stupid, but that the body of knowledge to be known is so vast, that it's simply outside of our grasp. But this is not a statement of hopelessness. Quite the opposite in fact! What beauty and hope lie in a universe that offers more than we can ever aspire to realize.
The practical side to this is, we can't think we know. Our minds must constantly be open to and aware of new potentialities. When we think we know, we're sunk. Don't be the arrogant guy. Don't be the one who digs his heels in the mud during a debate and refuses to entertain the possibility of being wrong. In wrongness lies creation, potential, and growth. Our egos tether us to an opinion and belief. Let go of the ego and soar on a jet stream of possibility."
And so, it is with these words that I challenge each of us to be open, to consider, and to use our heads when assessing our choices.
But above all, be kind. Remember to love. Remember that even those candidates with whom we disagree are human with souls and an eternity that stretches before them, just as it does for us.
Love is about people, not about opinions or ideology.
What will it take?