Wednesday, September 20, 2006
seeing bill clinton on the daily show reminded me of what a leader of the free world can look like. i had almost forgotten. over the years i have made it a goal of mine to better understand the views of people i disagree with. i grew up in a liberal household and have always led a lifestyle surrounded by liberals and therefore grew up with the belief that conservatives eat their children. i have often therefore found it difficult to understand their opposing views. but at the same time i have known that i am not being fully informed if i only hear the voices of those who parrot my own. i wish that i could remember the quote i once heard by jfk about how he would like to speak to those he disagrees with because he already knows what those that agree with him think. very wise words. that was my goal. to listen to, rather than constantly reacting to, the other side. as if there is only two sides. silly. but i started by listening to rush limbaugh (years ago now) at times on the radio. i know. trial by fire. but if i could start at an extreme i thought i might be able to most quickly learn how to swim by jumping into deep water. over time and in between expletives i began to understand some of the basic conservative beliefs. i could understand that you might believe that what is good for big business is good for companies that employ people and that the more people who are employed then smaller is the number of people who suffer in poverty. ok. if only it were all that simple. but i could see how you might approach things that way economically and socially. with these simple ideas i began to strengthen my ability to listen without reacting. needless to say i have long since stopped listening to conservative hate radio (or its liberal counterpart for that matter). but i do keep my eyes and ears peeled for conservatives, like governor mccain or tony blankley of the washington times and npr's left, right and center show, who i have continued respect for and can easily disagree with whilst fully understanding, and respecting why they believe what they believe. my concern is that the present administration is undoing my good work. it has finally gotten really difficult for me to listen to bush without just bristling. his 'conviction' has morphed into increasingly pissy stubborness and people continue to die as a direct result. and trying to watch cheney on 'meet the press', christ, i just kept fantasizing about grabbing him by the back of his head and pushing his face down into his soup. i once heard the dalai lama refer to the leader of china, because of his continued oppression of the tibetan people, as his greatest teacher about compassion or understanding. with that as the model, ive got an increasing workload with this administration. lots and lots to learn. lots.