Thursday, October 30, 2008

How We View the World

I mentioned to my friend in the comments of another post here that we should just agree to disagree because we have different world views. I've been thinking about this quite a bit lately. Sometimes I'll listen to people talk and I'll think they're from another planet. Or I am.

And I do think that there are many different world views, but in our country there seem to be two, generally speaking. Often you can tell who someone is voting for based on those views. I tend to believe that most people are decent and well-meaning. I believe in community and in helping people out. I think people need to step up, contribute to their communities, and to take responsibility for their lives. I tend to see us as a community: fauna and flora, stars and moon, men and women. I'm not an American first. I'm a human being living on a glorious beautiful planet. I am part of a community, part of a family. I live on and love this particular part of the world. Political lines are arbitrary and constantly changing. Unfortunately, these changing lines often become battle lines.

Mark Klempner writes about these differing world views in "How Much Damage Has Eight Years of Conservative Rule Done to Americans' Psyches?"

He writes, "Over the years I've come to realize how much our basic opinion about humanity has vast repercussions—not only on our personal lives, but also on our politics. If you assume people are 'no damn good,' you will probably favor more police officers and prisons, and you may not see anything wrong with capital punishment. You will also favor fences, walls and barriers of all kinds, and believe that it is prudent and perhaps necessary to own a gun. It's likely you will have supported George W. Bush in his pre-emptive war against Iraq, maybe even after you learned that he depended on lies and deceptions to carry it out. After all, life is about choosing the lesser of two evils.

"And what if you think that people are 'really good at heart'? Though you may be a dove, you will not necessarily be a starry-eyed dreamer. Many of those making the most basic contributions to society fall into this category: nurses, teachers, social workers, counselors. These individuals typically believe that it's better to rehabilitate people than to lock them up, and that negotiation and diplomacy are better than the use of tactics of domination and the last resort of war. They see true peace and security arising from goodwill and generosity, and probably keep a good book rather than a gun by their pillow."

Klempner talks about what changes have happened after eight years of Bush's reign of error and how so many of us have become burned out from trying to stand up for what we believe in and work for change.

He writes, "When Bush got in, all the neocons came out of the closet, but if Barack Obama wins, their divisive strategies will be challenged. The White House will no longer welcome or be a home to born-again bigots, torture apologists, habeas corpus revokers and the rest of the industriofascist entourage. I also expect that censored truth commissions, muzzled scientists, harassed librarians, bought appointees and coerced generals will cease to be an issue under Obama's leadership. As he extricates us from Iraq, perhaps he could deliver us and the Iraqis from the Shock and Awe strategists, Blackwater barbarians and Halliburton robber barons.

"But none of this can happen without our making a renewed commitment to once again throw ourselves into the struggle and subject our hearts to the dizzying roller-coaster whereby our dreams are brought within our grasp, but might just as suddenly be snatched away."

So true.

I was just talking to my father on the phone. It's his birthday today. I was talking about these different world views and he laughed and said, "Kim, you've got to stop taking all of this stuff so seriously." One of his brothers and sister-in-law had stopped by the house. His sister-in-law told him she was going to write in Hillary's name, and my uncle said he didn't know who he was voting for. My dad said, "I'll tell you who to vote for." And now he said to me, "These people are in your own family and they have the same background you do."

"I'd been wondering where these undecided voters were," I said, "and I find out they're in my own family!"

Yep. Whenever I start waxing nostalgic about my roots or where I come from, my father puts me straight. Like the time he told me one of my cousins didn't believe in the Holocaust. What? I said. And what? He'd only tell me these horrible things about members of my family whenever I started talking about how great my family was; I used to wonder if he did that purposefully to make me feel bad. Now I think he just wants me to know the truth. Today I think his point was that we can become who we want to be inside, no matter who are family is or how we were raised.

That's his view of the world, and I agree with him.

But my father likes to tease me. People have always enjoyed teasing me—precisely because I am so serious about some things. Today I asked my dad if he watched Barack Obama's infomercial last night. "No!" he said. "I already voted. I watched the Piston's game."

I said, "Yeah, I've voted, too, but I watched it. I felt inspired. I really have such affection for Obama. I really believe he's a good and decent man who will work for us."

And my dad said, "Yeah, well you know con men work on those skills."

"Really? Don't you think he's sincere?" And I kept talking, trying to convince my father, while he continued laughing at me. I know my father and I voted for the same man. He was just helping me get down from my high horse.

And then we talked about other things. I got off the phone and wondered if today was difficult for my father. Another first. His first birthday without my mother. First time in fifty some years.

I want what's best for my family and friends. I want them to be healthy and prosperous. I want things to be easy and joyful for them. I want life to be wonderful and easy for everyone.

That's my world view.

Now someone give me a damn magic wand so I can make it happen.


1 comment:

cynthia said...

Oh Kim, this post just hit me in the heart. Your father teasing you by pushing the button of your seriousness; that was so nice to read. Sweet. My dad communicates with few words as well. More sweet.

i am the serious one in my family, my worldview is similar to your's and my spirit work is nature based. But that just makes me the family oddball. With this Obama wave (knock wood), i wonder if i am becoming mainstream.

Anyway, i enjoy your blog. Happy Halloween. And to your spirit self i say Blessed Samhain.

 
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