Last issue marked my 10th column for the Southwest Connector, so with a lifetime total of that many published stories, I’d like to share few things I’m learning from this.
First off, as my headline suggests, (and admittedly, this is not news): There is no end to the awful trauma of modern life. I had just turned in my last column, about Gabby Giffords and gun violence, when suddenly the school shooting in Uvalde came before us in its full horror. And then seemingly 20 minutes later, another guy shot his doctor and his doctor’s colleagues at a medical center in Tulsa.
It’s hardly news anymore, but I could write about it forever.
The Washington Post ran a headline asking, “Why Is It So Hard to Find Compromise on Guns?” I responded immediately: “Because the Republican Party is not reasonable anymore.” Compromise and negotiation are only possible between people who share basic values, and sadly, the Red Party has turned its back on the basic values of honesty and democracy.
I say this kind of thing a lot these days, and people are often taken aback. I’m sometimes labeled harsh and extreme, but in truth, my own sense of self is that I’m anything but that. I’ve always considered myself to be a moderate, a “quintessential Libra” born with a devotion to the Scales of Justice. It’s injustice which energizes, and yes, also infuriates me. I don’t like fighting, but I’m willing to fight for truth and “Goodness.”
Many of us believe in goodness, but I feel like I’m alone when I say that I believe in evil. I don’t revere evil, or worship it, but I do see it everywhere. Evil is common. Evil is everyday. Evil is damn near in the water.
Many of us progressives choose to believe that evil is rare. Perhaps that is part of our own well-meant self-indoctrination: We have evolved to see the good in others, and in other cultures, and we have been taught to be tolerant and accepting of others’ beliefs and behaviors. This has lately been to our detriment, in my opinion. We have become inured to the obvious wrongness of a position, and in our next breath, we good-naturedly extend our trust again to the untrustworthy. Meanwhile, we have come to worship the concept of compromise, while rejecting the notion of victory and defeat as a way of enlightening and healing the world.
It’s easy to blame politicians. It’s much harder to blame neighbors and relatives who refuse to quit voting for politicians who support the sale of military style assault weapons to civilians. It’s hard to put the responsibility where it belongs – on the PEOPLE who refuse to quit voting for these politicians.
I could write about this battle/non-battle every week. I won’t. But I would love to feel part of a successful campaign to help us all realize that it is appropriate to call out the immorality of these inconsistencies and their devastating impact on human life. We have been tricked into believing it’s “judgmental” to have the ability to judge and to point out what is wrong. It isn’t.
A person who is willing to subordinate all moral positions for the sake of maintaining the right to buy an assault rifle is no different from a person willing to subordinate all moral positions for the sake of party identity. It’s not morally defensible to look the other way and stay in an immoral party.
Thirty minutes ago, I started this column with the notion of writing about “column writing” itself, and then (alas?) I got carried away in the moment again. Coming up with a new topic every two weeks is a challenge and a privilege entirely new to me, and while a few of these columns were planned ahead, often they have been written off the cuff.
I believe that trying anything new often brings new awareness of The Self, and when there is measurable, time-sensitive responsibility attached, it can bring you up close to the mirror. “Who am I and what am I doing?” I’ve taken on the responsibility Not to Bore You, perhaps above all... I hope I’m succeeding.
As a preview, here are a few topics I will write about, in forthcoming columns: More politics, of course, and specifically, I’ll talk of my strongly held faith in Ranked Choice Voting and how I believe RCV can strengthen our democracy. I expect to write a two-part story about parking in Linden Hills, and how the business node’s shortage of parking is being (and not being) addressed. In August, I’ll preview the 17th Annual Linden Hills Woofstock, Minnesota’s biggest party for dogs. And I’m sure I’ll write about real estate again...
Truth is – coming up with new topics is one of the harder parts of this job. So, to that end, I’d like to open it up for suggestions... Feel free to email me with comments, and ideas: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’ve been following me at all, I think you’ll know what I might be interested in.
Be well, and Keep Doing Good.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here