**WARNING**WOMAN ON SOMEWHAT OF A RANT**PLEASE PROCEED WITH CAUTION**
Something's bugging me. It has been for a while now. I normally try to shake it off but just can't seem to lately. There has been a lot of political wrangling and there are some pretty serious events unfolding in the world recently. It feels like there's quite a bit of of verbal flak whizzing around and it's almost impossible to avoid being caught in the crossfire. I want to, though. Avoid it, that is.
Don't misunderstand that statement as a lack of interest or concern about important issues. I care deeply about healthcare and about the environment and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I am affected by the same issues as everyone else. I am concerned about the future of our country and I am very compassionate to the needs of others. I love being an American. I love free speech and I know everyone has the right to express their opinions and feelings, as do I.
Here's what's bothering me: I am witnessing a growing lack of tolerance, decorum, courtesy and respect for the opinions and feelings of others when it comes to publically expressing our views or opinions or when we are asserting the facts as we know them. It almost seems like everybody is talking and few seem to be listening. I'm not just talking about the media...it's everywhere. I have received some emails lately from both sides of the healthcare issue that would curl your hair! I mean, wow!!
Listen, I understand about passion. I understand about conviction. I understand about determination. I understand outrage and frustration. I really do. I'm just going to go out on a limb and say that it is not always a simple matter of "I'm right, therefore YOU are wrong." What is right for you may not be right for me. And vice versa. I'm okay with that. Since we are all able to see the world differently based on our own knowledge, experiences, situations and beliefs, it stands to reason that we would have differing views and opinions and I think it's healthy to remember that. I'm not out to debate any particular issue here. That is not my intention. I am only trying to bring to light the fact that there are times when we become so inflamed with passion and conviction and the need to turn the tide and 'set things right' that we forget that we are not the only ones in the boat.
Am I saying that speaking out is wrong? Absolutely not. Those of you who know me are well aware that I have NO problem with speaking out! Healthy debate is something I have great respect for. It's the manner and the tone that I have an issue with. If someone is speaking angrily or using insults to make a point, I tend to shut down. Maybe it doesn't bother you...and that's great. For me...the disrespect, name-calling, accusatory statements and personal insults and attacks are a turn-off. Maybe it's just me. But I don't think so. Don't get me wrong. I'm not perfect. I very recently got sucked into an exchange of words with someone that didn't go very well. I could have handled it better and I wish things had gone differently. The thing is, I know I can do better and I intend to.
I know people are fed up...I am too. I am annoyed and aggravated and perturbed just like everybody else. There's something else I am, though. Grateful. Profoundly grateful to live in a free society where I can say what's on my mind when I feel like it. Grateful that my computer isn't censored. Grateful that my kids are in school and not working in a factory to help support the family. Grateful that I can go to church and worship my God freely. Grateful that I can get in the car and drive around without worrying a bomb will go off while I'm stopped at an intersection. Grateful that if disaster strikes, there is a plan in place to make help available for me and my family. Grateful that as a woman I am free to make decisions concerning the provision and care for my kids. Could things be better? Oh yeah...no doubt about that. Could they be worse? We all know the answer to that one. Right now...I am just grateful be an American. Period.
Here is my wish list for the future. What I'm daring to dream for: I wish poverty was extinct. I wish peace was prevalent. I wish our environment and it's well-being was a priority for everyone. I wish civility was the norm. I wish chivalry was alive and well. I wish dignity and respect in our communication with each other was something we just took for granted. I wish honesty and integrity were examples of characteristics set by our leaders. I wish higher education was available to everyone. I wish politeness and kindness were practiced as a general rule. I wish the service men and women in our country were held up with the honor and appreciation they are due and were compensated appropriately for their sacrifice. I wish our children were able to play freely and without fear in our neighborhoods. I wish our rich diversity was celebrated with a sense of national pride. I wish that in disagreement, people would take a step back and give each other the respect and freedom that is their right. I wish our leaders would be impeccable with their word and would speak less often and listen more carefully. I wish our country would embrace the fact that 'God' is not a bad word and that we need Him more than ever right now! I wish people would hug more and yell less. I wish eveyone would kiss a puppy every day and that kittens and unicorns would freely cavort in the spring meadows, and that rainbows and happiness and sunshine....gotcha. Just wanted to see if you were still with me.
Am I idealistic? Sure. Naive? Probably. Wishing for too much? Maybe, but I don't think so. My beliefs tell me that God is in control. I try to let Him handle the big stuff. Of course, I have to do my part. It starts with me, as they say. I'm willing. I know that I'm capable of changing for the better. We all are. I believe that most people are really trying to do their best. I'm hoping we can level up our definition of 'best' when it comes to relating to each other as we move forward. I know that with God ALL things are possible. You might think I'm wrong about that. But I believe I'm right.