Every once in a while I’m asked my opinion about this or that in a political context and a feeling of unease inevitably comes over me. I think to myself: How can I state my beliefs in a way that will be accepted without the conversation getting derailed into a black & white death match?
This sticky situation stems from the common misconceptions about the state where I spent my formative years and the state where I’ve chosen to live as an adult. You see, I’m the product of a mixed cultural marriage between Kansas, a decidedly conservative state, and Oregon, a state that is equally rooted in liberal views. So, some wonder, “Is she with us or them?” Stupid, isn’t it?
Well, here’s my answer… I think there are way too many people in the country today who only experience what is put before them. They get one view of our world and accept everything they hear from those sources. I’ve seen this on both sides of the fence. Conservative friends have inquired about “my liberal views” and liberal friends have automatically assigned conservative beliefs to me that are not mine. Of course, I have views…about everything, but they never quite fit what people assume. Maybe that’s why I’m so inspired by the duality of life’s struggles and comparisons of opposites in my writing. Usually, the thought that I leave with after having a political/cultural conversation is: Wow! People really don’t know or appreciate their own country or the people who populate it.
Not that I know everything–I would never be so presumptuous to claim that. Even when I’m ‘in the moment’ and feel like I have an inspired insight I still, deep down, say to myself, “But, what do I know?”
So, what DO I know? There are really only three things and here they are:
1) All people want a decent life. A good life. Some people are lucky and get it; some people are not lucky and for many reasons don’t get it but every single person wants to be happy and healthy and feel loved.
2) We’re all in this together, so we’d better get it together.
3) In the end, what I really know is that I truly know nothing and I take comfort in the words of Confucius who so wisely said, “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”