A Call for Men of Compassion
May 18, 2012 4 Comments
When I was a young boy my favorite book was “King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.” This was a small book, small enough to fit in your pocket and it contained great stories, and engraved pictures about that age of chivalry and adventure. I was swept up in the mythology of the book and spent considerable time reading and re-reading the book to the point that the small book was becoming “dog eared” and falling apart. My mother understood how important the book was to me and she took it to a bindery and had the book repaired and an new cover attached with the title embossed in gold. I still have this little volume in my library and I’m looking forward to the day when I can share the stories with my grandchildren.
I couldn’t get enough of this mythology, watching every movie, reading comic books (remember Illustrated Classics?) and even put together plastic models of knights. To this day I still read “Prince Valiant” comic strips every Sunday morning on my iPad.
The stories of King Arthur and his Knights represented values that I learned, later in life, to hold dear. These myths defined a world that was intentional, powerful and worth fighting for. These stories about Arthur, Lancelot and Guinevere while they were fables still communicated truths that are still relevant today. I knew even as a young boy that the stories weren’t true but I still believed in their moral and I was able to use that understanding to help guide my journey to manhood.
Over the course of the past three years I’ve become aware of a different mythology, a political mythology that isn’t honest, isn’t true and certainly doesn’t espouse moral values. I own, upfront, my bias in this matter and I find it difficult to identify myths about Liberals. However, this supports my claim that today what is presented as political truth is in fact nothing more than mythology used to manipulate people into supporting specific politicians or more precisely denouncing the opposition. I ask that you suspend your immediate reaction to what is presented here and see if through an open mind we might be able to achieve something, together. I’ll use the mythology applied by the Left to denigrate the Right as a way to illustrate my point. Please respond with the myths that the Right promote about the Left!
“Paul Ryan and the Republicans want to deprive healthcare for the elderly.”
“The Republican are waging a war on women.”
“The rich don’t pay their fair share of the taxes.”
“People on the Right only care about making money and don’t care about the common man.”
“Conservatives are anti-immigrant.”
“Conservatives hate homosexuals.”
I could fill the rest of this blog with an educated repudiation of each of these myths. Not a single one of them is true for me or anyone I know who believes in conservative values. Instead I’m inviting you to participate in a discussion about the core mythology:
“Liberals are compassionate while Conservatives are not.”
There isn’t an issue in our society that can’t be distilled to this fundamental myth. Regardless of the facts or the costs a Liberal will always believe that their polices are superior because they are certain that they care and we don’t. For example, take the recent support for gay marriage by President Obama.
A Liberal colleague at work asked what I thought about the President’s recent support for gay marriage and I voiced my objection to changing the meaning of marriage to include same-sex couples. His response as he walked away, “So you want us all to be miserable.” Wow, he didn’t ask for an explanation for my beliefs and I didn’t say anything about how I feel about homosexuality; he just made the intellectual leap, driven by his emotions, that if I don’t agree with him then I’m an uncaring, hater of gays.
He is an enlightened and compassionate person while I’m a neanderthal.
How can we deal with any of the challenges that confront this nation if we won’t listen to each other. In the situation mentioned above I wanted to have my colleague explain his position, I wanted to learn how he would draw the moral line; what was the moral authority for re-defining marriage? Can brothers and sisters marry? Is polygamy acceptable? Can a father marry his daughter? If we’re going to define marriage in a way that has never been done before then what’s the basis, what’s the authority for the new definition?
The Liberal “compassion myth” wouldn’t allow the man from engaging in a meaningful dialog about the definition of marriage. He didn’t want to hear that I have the upmost respect for my gay colleagues. He doesn’t want to learn about the close personal friends I have with men who happen to be homosexuals. He doesn’t want to hear that I want equal rights for all citizens regardless of race, color, creed or sexual orientation. He doesn’t want to hear the basis for my belief that marriage isn’t a right protected by the Constitution, it’s an institution.
The Liberal walks away and the ideological gulf widens and with the help of the newspapers and TV we end up with more division, more animosity, less understanding and no solutions.
I’m sick and tired of these spit wad fights ( See my earlier blog entry on this subject, http://wp.me/p1MpDw-n) while “Rome Burns!” My challenge to all that read these words, especially the men, STAND UP FOR CLARITY. Exercise true compassion and put yourself in the shoes of the other person. Make every attempt to understand their point of view and how they are directly affected. Then clearly articulate your position and the basis for your beliefs. Lose the sound bites and dive into the deep water of understanding. I’m not asking that you agree, I’m asking that you put down the shield of self-righteousness and listen, to have ears to hear and eyes to see. For me this is a moral issue that men must step up and be the leaders for creating a safe and positive environment for the exchange of ideas. We as men need to get past the propaganda and the myths we hold dear and clearly define the problems so that we can arrive at sensible and well thought out solutions.
As an architectural student back in the late 60’s I learned that defining the problem clearly, usually resulted in the solution becoming known quickly. We had to “chew” on the subject for awhile in order to gain clarity but once there, the solution would appear naturally. We as a nation need to start defining the problems more clearly in order for us to create a more perfect Union.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Omamacare) is a perfect example of how the problem, the question has NOT been clearly defined. The result is a two thousand page law that no one read and no one can fully understand and that doesn’t actually reduce the cost of healthcare. If we define the problem as, “We want to reduce the cost of healthcare, maintain and improve that care and make the care available and affordable to all citizens” then we’ll have a dialog that will result in a very different outcome. We’ll be able to explore what, if anything the Federal Government needs to do (ability to sell insurance across State lines for instance) and what programs and laws can assist in achieving the stated goals at the local and State levels of government. If we define the problem as ”How can the political class control the lives of the citizens,” then we get Obamacare. Instead we enflame the situation through our mythologies about the Left being compassionate and the Right wanting to push granny off the cliff.
My humble request is that you join me in the dialog about fatherhood, manhood, the economy, the definition of marriage, or any other social issue. Respond with your beliefs not your judgments. Respond with insight and reason about the basis and the authority for your position.
Let’s not hide behind false compassion, let’s stand up for clarity and understanding and be authentically compassionate. Let’s stop trusting our lives to career politicians and media pundits and reclaim the leadership of this great country. Join me in picking up the sword of truth and the shield of faith to become the new knights for clarity!