Occupy This: Digging In

Detail of The School of Athens by Raffaello Sa...

Detail of The School of Athens by Raffaello Sanzio, 1509, showing Plato (left) and Aristotle (right) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thirty six days to go. Just over a month until we choose our new stewards in our towns, counties, states and nation. Early in November we will go to the polls, if we are smart, make an informed decision (hey a girl can dream) and by midnight know who has been entrusted with making the big decisions for us. We will have a week or so of analysis, of election fatigue followed by election hangover and then blissful quiet.
And that is too bad, because as responsible members of society, we should always be talking about the issues we want our representatives to work on. We should have a dialogue with each other (not just the barrage of Facebook posts, of which I am as guilty as anyone else) regarding the direction we want our society to go. We should make that dialogue as civil as possible.
That’s the hard part though, isn’t it? We get so emotionally attached to our ideas that they are hard to give up. I won’t claim a perfect divorce between my emotions and my critical reflection of my values and politics, but I would like to think a background in philosophy helps with that. I would recommend everyone pick up a copy of Plato’s version of Socrates‘s Apology. It can’t hurt.
Because what does hurt is our digging in our heels and never moving an inch. I see foaming at the mouth Obama supporters claiming any liberal dissent is dangerous. I read hateful remarks from the right toward a President that has done a fairly good job on the issues they say are important to them. I hear feeble arguments from fellow leftists that blame the President for problems he did not create.  I feel pain when people tell me they have given up on it all together.
We have many rights in this country, chief among those the right to express ourselves, and yes, we do have the right to do so without reflecting on what we are saying, but that does not mean we are right when we do. We have the right to say what we please, that does not free us from the responsibility, to ourselves and others, to make a real effort to figure out if we are speaking the truth.


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