Posts Tagged ‘faith’

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IMAGINE THAT

July 5, 2009

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We Americans are an interesting bunch. We’re a combination of different backgrounds, ethnicities and religious beliefs. We like to think we are a generous people. We believe we are the hardest workers in the world with unmatched capabilities to research and develop new industries and technologies.

The above said, it stands to reason that we are a blend of the different labels that are used to categorize us by media and politicians – Republican, Democrat, Independent, Conservative and Liberal.  But national polling would have us believe we fall into only one category with a chance that some also fall slightly into a second.

I disagree.

Surely, you’re not surprised. 🙂

ManFlagTraveling this country over the years, I’ve learned most people are not defined by a single category as the polls would indicate, but instead, by portions of many categories. At our core, we Americans are both individually unique and collectively similar.

Most of us believe we are open-minded and willing to listen to others. We believe we are firm in our faith, following our denomination’s teachings, especially as they relate to accepting those of different cultures. Most of us know that there will be change in our lives – whether we like it or not – and therefore, cannot always be bound by the rules of previous generations. For the most part, we are a peaceful people, co-existing in a very diverse nation.

So, based on the paragraphs above, what “category” do we really fall into? Let’s look at the above traits as a dictionary definition: 

a. Not limited to established views: accepting of new ideas:

b. Tolerant of the cultures of others; broad-minded;

JesusWaterDoveMost of my family members and – on a much broader scale – my friends and acquaintances, would probably agree they fall somewhere within these definitions. If I were to have a heart-to-heart conversation with any of them, we may find some minor differences, but nothing earth-shattering.

That is, until the conversation turns to politics or religion. Then the term “earth-shattering” becomes an understatement. Many of the very same people who would agree with me, or I with them, about most of the general life issues described above, are suddenly miles apart. How does that happen? What causes people who appear to care about each other, about their community, their church, their family and  friends, to be so divided over these two subjects?

I don’t have an answer.

If I were to speculate, I would say that most of what is said during conversations about politics or religion comes from what has been heard, and not from conclusions that were derived through extensive personal research, reflection and experience. As these conversations “heat up,” defensiveness increases, especially when questions requiring real honesty are asked. I don’t know if this is an attempt to hide a lack of knowledge or it is simply discomfort due to a perceived attack on one’s integrity. Either way, when conversations digress to this level, I exit.

However, as a nation, it does seem we’re progressing in our dialogue. There are big shifts occurring and for the first time in a long time (if ever), the change is coming from the grassroots – not from the top. We are slowly but surely – with some discomfort – taking our country back from those who would divide us into separate categories so as to keep us from the basic commonality that binds all Americans.

BTW – Here’s an actual dictionary definition of the traits I discussed at the beginning of this post:

“a. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.

b. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.”

TeamworkShaded

It’s the definition of liberal

Imagine that.

Sincerely,

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www.MichaelKontras.com

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PLEASE DON’T MAKE THIS A HABIT

May 9, 2009

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Dear Mr. President,

We are fortunate that you are so visible to us. It’s a refreshing change from the previous administration. You address our country often – giving us confidence that you’re working hard to make things better. It’s comforting, to say the least.

However, those of us who research what we write about on these pages know that there are those that would harm you, much like many previous popular presidents and leaders.

I am aware of your lack of concern on this issue, knowing that you are firm in your faith and safe. You live as all of us should live – free and without fear. It’s one of the reasons I voted for you. This is not to say you are naïve about your current position in life. I’m sure you and Michelle are quite cognizant of potential threats.

It’s obvious you have the best security in the world. They did a great job during your campaign and I’m sure they are continuing to do so now.

Earlier this month, you and the VP went out for burgers. It was great to see both of you together, having a casual lunch, in a small diner. I was not at all concerned that the two of you were at the same place, at the same time. I’m sure the security planning for this “meet and eat” was extensive.

Joe and you seem just as comfortable in that environment as you are at events like the Washington Correspondents Dinner. I’m sure the staff at the diner was thrilled, even if they did have to go through an exhaustive process to prepare for your arrival. 

But as you left the diner and started to enter your limo, you made a move that made me tremble for just a second.

Apparently, I need to work harder on MY faith because my memories of the Kennedy brothers, King, the attempt on Wallace’s life and Reagan’s life, came rushing back.

As much as we enjoy seeing and hearing you, Mr. President, please don’t make this a habit.

We want you around long after your eight years as President of the United States. 🙂

Sincerely,

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www.MichaelKontras.com