Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Speaking. Listening. Reacting

I was at a party last night, given for two of my friends.  One celebrates his birthday on Dec 7th. The other celebrates her birthday on Dec 9th

There were ten guests.
1.       Male and female.
2.      Straight and gay.
3.      Partnered and single
4.      All aged 60+
5.      Protestant, Catholic, Episcopalian, and Atheist/Agnostic.
6.      No Black, Latino, Jewish, Muslim or other minorities (how dull!).

There we were. We were united in our love of the two who were celebrating birthdays.  We were all more or less liberal Democrats.

And yet, two of the guests got into a heated argument about a political/social issue.  Their voices grew stronger and more strident.

I felt like a stranger in the midst of friends, and I couldn’t stand the loud voices.  So I took myself out to the porch to escape the clamour (and “truth be told” to unwind with a cigarette).

I have been thinking all day about the argument. It was between two people whom I like, and greatly respect.  But they could find no middle ground; no points of agreement or commonality.

My thoughts have taken me this way:  I am a “died in the wool” liberal Democrat.  I am a convinced liberal Christian.  I have no shame or embarrassment with regard to my liberal convictions.I am proud of them.

But “woe is me” if I think that my tongue is more important than my ears.  I want to be a person who listens more than he speaks (and that will be very difficult for me!).

Difficult as it is, I need to listen to conservative Republicans and to conservative Christians.

Perhaps I will never agree with them.  But I owe them the respect of listening to what they have to say.

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