As I explained in a previous post, 6 truths inform my positions and arguments on things. Now how it effects my real world.
I’ll start with the overall topic of healthcare in America. There are many who disagree with me on this issue and is an issue that does not have a cut and dry argument. (Though I might disagree with that last statement myself)
I am in favor of Government run universal health coverage. I believe that no one deserves to die from preventable disease or go bankrupt for it. People don’t deserve to die or suffer because they made the decision not to by healthcare or by lack of availability or money and to me it just feels like the right and humane thing to do. You can see how that relates to positions 1 and 4.
What I stated is simple and from the gut. Now Ryan, my good friend who never agrees with me, points out that I shouldn’t have to pay for the health care of another person.
Everyone has a right to spend their money they way they choose. Ryan is not making this point because he is evil or selfish. It is his morals and ideals that conclude that his freedom is more important that the health of the other person, it is their personal responsibility I do not conclude he is evil, bad, uncaring. it is what he believes. Ryan may think I am soft, evil, or even a communist for having suggested my point.
If we go in with those attitudes we won’t be able tho change each other’s mind. When I go in thinking about his ethical argument of personal freedom I can attempt to argue my point with an understanding of him. I might say “Would you not have more personal freedom if you were not beholden to an employer for healthcare?” And Ryan might appeal to my since of morality by saying “Do you want to pay for murderers and rapists healthcare?” These reasons are made to appeal to the other’s reasons for supporting their side. To get to the point where we can discuss the true differences between our ideologies.
How does this effect everyday life? How does one translate this into actions and not just an underlining philosophy? Starting with point 1, people are generally good. they have good intentions and good hearts. Treat people that way. It’s harder to treat someone poorly if you believe their intentions are as good as yours. Do you like it when someone smiles and says “Hi” to you? Then you do it. Do you like it when people let you finish their point you were making without interrupting? Then do the same.
Point #2 very closely ties to point one but does add in something that can be nearly impossible for some to do. Don’t be offended by other’s actions. A person who cuts in line generally pisses me off. But I don’t know every detail of the situation. Maybe he did just run to the bathroom and a friend held his spot. What I must remember is that this person didn’t do it for evil reasons. Maybe he didn’t see the line. I cannot know what is in his head but I can assume he is not the Antichrist trying to destroy the world by cutting in lines.
Skipping to #4 (Because the world being shades of grey is hard to separate into it’s own point.) One action does not a person make. I should not imprint on the line cutter’s face the term “Line Cutter” and dismiss him for all future as this bad man who pissed me off. Who knows if he runs a soup kitchen or is a priest?
It is the natural tendency to categorize people into neat and simple stereotypes I do it all the time. Judging people on the impression they leave when I first meet them. Especially in a work or sales situation it can be useful to “Size up” the client. Try do determine their needs and interest to best respond to them. But once that initial interaction is finished don’t carry that impression on to the next time you talk to them. There situation may have changed, may be in a different mood, or seeking something completely different. You will realize that people are more complicated than you first realized.
Writing this I am reminded of a conversation I had with the presidential candidate from the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Peta Lindsay, about coming together on issues that we agree with. Saying how our local Occupy MN movement had a strong libertarian contingent and that we can agree that ending our wars and we should work together on such things. She disagreed calling Ron Paul a racists. That she would not march with him for peace because of positions he held. She basically called Libertarians racist and would not even attempt to work with them. She is wrong on that point. (Watch the archive of the streamed round table discussion around the 45 minute mark) She labeled a group as racist as a whole instead of an act of an individual.
I use this as an example because it hit me hard. How is anyone supposed to move an agenda forward when cannot accept the support on an issue from someone whom one disagrees with on another issue? The conversation right before that one was about bring one issue folks into a greater movement because they are all connected. (42 min mark) You cannot attempt to unite around common values while disenfranchising others for their values.
Also note that I wrote “She was wrong on that point” earlier not that “She is wrong.” If you sit down and have a real and meaningful conversation with a person of a differing opinion you will realize that what you differ on is not as big as you might expect. That has been my experience in nearly every time I have.
Do understand that the origin of modern Libertarianism notion that a business has a right to serve only the people they want comes from the Jim Crow era in the south to reserve the right not to allow African Americans to eat at your establishment. It got wrapped into State rights issues at the time. Today’s Libertarian movement has many roots in this thinking. Some will call that belief racist but to call all Libertarians racist because of these roots is unfounded and frankly bigoted.
Ron Paul has said some fairly racist stuff in his past and written in his name. There will be those who call him a racist. That is a consequence of his actions. He may not like it but it is the result of his actions. He could have chosen not to be in the public eye and let all of his words fade but he has stayed in the spotlight and taken his wounds and dished his own out.
I disagree with calling him a racist. Call his actions and views racist. Don’t call the man racist. Once you call a person a term like racist or Nazi or the Anti-Christ the is no more room for agreement. “I know I called you a Nazi but can you turn down that music? We are trying to sleep.” Not a conversation I ever want to have.
To accept that people’s intentions are good, to accept the consequences of your own actions, hold people accountable for theirs, and to do it in the world of grey we live in is not always easy. My advise; don’t take things personally, fight for what is worth fighting for, and enjoy the conversation not winning it.