Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Unpopular Truth

Last Sunday I was in church during an uncomfortable political discussion. I wrestled with whether speaking up would be fruitful. I don't believe that standing up for your beliefs is always liberating, helpful, or admirable, even if it is true. Truth isn't perceived as true by all your audiences.

Sometimes people think that you're only courageous if you're willing to martyr yourself for a principle that you believe in. This justifies all kinds of ugly talk, political or not. They think, "Well, if you can't handle the truth, I don't care that I'm insulting you."

I've had a hard road in learning this. I don't always stay quiet when I should, and it's not so much that I've learned my lesson, because some topics make me see fire first, but I've been in enough arguments that the reassuring thought of "Well, I'm right," isn't really comforting enough.

I'm a political liberal in a largely politically conservative religion. I see this as a difference of opinion rather than religion. I don't understand how others find devastating ends to this difference of opinion. Too many people I care about and love believe that We, the liberals, are sending this country to Hell in a hand-basket. It's shocking to me that ideals that I care about in the way society should run can be seen as morally wrong rather than just plain old political difference.

Because REALLY, it is political difference of opinion. I do think that politicians are extremely good at their jobs and at emotional skewing. This ends up making us all little sound byte clips of who is right and who is wrong and fear mongerers. Yes, there are political issues that directly oppose LDS values, but there is no party that aligns perfectly with LDS values. So my choosing a political affiliation based on alignment to religious values is a false notion, as even most left wing and right wing politicians are much closer in agreeing with each other morally than with any LDS member. You may champion a specific issue as more important than others. It's still your opinion which is more morally important.

If this country is going to Hell in a hand-basket, it's because we let politics mask our beliefs in how we should be dealing with each other if we do have a disagreement, not because we disagree on who should have access to government subsidies for healthcare. Rumors of government plots and conspiracies outnumber the possibilities that people are trying to make decisions based on actual ideals.

Choice lies with an individual, within certain laws and bounds. We shouldn't think that this freedom is what is going to ruin us. That's the exact thing we believe makes us divine beings. Having truth does not mean we can say hateful or isolating words, even in moral disagreements.

I get that it is difficult, sometimes, to reconcile truth and showing your commitment to it. It confuses how we speak and deal with others, and even how we want others to respect that commitment.

Jake told me about how Ethan said he likes growing bananas because it's easy to share with everyone that way.

Fred said, "You are such a socialist."

Ethan answered, "You mean you don't want any?"

Fred decided that he did.

I'm voting Ethan for President, even if he is a socialist.


FootPrints said...

i'm pretty sure i know what you're talking about here. only because these last two weeks have brought up so much CONFUSION for me. i'd consider myself conservative, but for this issue our state is facing, i'm having some seriously conflicting thoughts. i feel like i HAVE to go with my gut. and i HAVE to go with what i feel is right, even if it's "against" my religion.

mariah said...

It's kind of disappointing when people use "Truth" to justify bad behavior, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't do it. Thanks for your post :)

Jesse Palmer said...

I usually try and say something respectful, if only because it seems that many conservative members imagine that their position is the only one, and I want them to know that it isn't. (Liberals have no such luxury.) Also, there are usually people in the audience who agree with you and they usually appreciate when someone says something. I think a huge part is how you approach it.