Thursday, May 17, 2012

Of Hearts, Brains, and Assumptions

If you aren't liberal when you're young, you have no heart. 
If you're not conservative when you're old, you have no brain.

I've heard this several times recently.
I've also noticed that it is always said from old conservative people to young liberal people. In other words, it's something that old conservatives tell young liberals (and tell themselves) to justify the fact that they have changed as they've aged.
It's also pretty patronizing.
Because what I actually hear is this: "well, you're young and emotional, I am sympathetic to your childish feelings. But when you grow up and think about things more, you'll be like me."

How many times does one change in this regard? Because I started out very young as a conservative. It's what I was taught to be. And then in my mid-twenties I became liberal, because I learned more about the complexity of the issues and the world. When my parents were the age I am now, they were conservative... so did they get 'old' prematurely? Or do I get to qualify as 'old' in spite of my liberalism? I wonder, at what point will I be 'old'? President Obama turns 51 this year, and he's liberal. Sarah Palin is three years younger, but she's conservative.

Let us be logical here, political beliefs are not a product of age. They are the product, I think, of priorities. Consider, for example, the simple matter of finance. The average young person has very little money, and might naturally be in favor of things like economical stimulus programs and wealth redistribution. The average older person has significantly more money. They have probably worked hard for it, and they feel entitled to keep it rather than be obligated to share it. So they want to get rid of taxation on capital gains and estates.
A younger person--a poorer person--may be more likely to need assistance from welfare, whereas an older person is more concerned with investments, property taxes, and social security. This is all rational, I don't think less of a person for having different priorities than my own. I do get a bit miffed when they belittle my priorities or (especially) my intelligence.

Please, do tell me what you believe, and why. Tell me why it's important to you. I do care, and I am interested. If you can, give me statistics to back it up (because I find facts to be remarkably convincing). From time to time, new information leads me to change my perspective (that would be how I became the liberal I am today in fact).
But don't pat me on the head with a patronizing "Mother knows best" attitude. Do not belittle me, my mind, or my abilities in that way. Trust that I am capable of feeling--and thinking--rationally and responsibly.
Be willing to appreciate that we can have different interests and priorities, and that that's ok. We can still respect each other. Let's just stop pretending that our differences are a product of maturity or intelligence, because they aren't.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

In the heavens are parents single? 
No, the thought makes reason stare. 
Truth is reason 
Truth eternal tells me

A year or so ago I wrote about my experiences with coming to know Mother in Heaven. Several people subsequently came to me telling me that they had similar feelings or experiences. Others came to me with a different message. "She is sacred," they said, "we should not talk about Her, at least not in public ways. She is too special. It is not appropriate to spread pearls before swine."

Humor me for a moment. Think of a mother that you know. Any mother, but preferably a mother with a lot of kids. Does she consider any of them to be swine? (aside from those little moments when they won't clean up their room or neglect to use a fork...) Would she want them to not know who she was? How about this scenario: some of them get to know her but some of them don't.
Can you think of ANY mother who feels that way about her children?

Speaking as a mother, as someone who knows many other mothers, I cannot.

I believe that our Mother in Heaven is there, is important, and wants us to know Her and know about Her and seek Her just as we do our Father and Brother. I believe that patriarchal cultural norms (including centuries of misogyny) have hidden Mother from many of Her children, but neither She NOR FATHER have ever wanted Her to be hidden from her children. That was and is and continues to be an entirely man-made construct.

While the rampant communication of the digital era has allowed rumors and misinformation to spread, and even allowed sacred things (that should be kept private) to be shouted from the rooftops, it has also facilitated the teaching of important truths to the world. The knowledge of Mother is a plain and precious thing, something that instantly and instinctively feels true to many when they hear it. Some people will reject it, because it us unfamiliar and belief persistence is a powerful thing. But I categorically reject the notion that we should keep this knowledge to ourselves. Mother matters, just as surely as motherhood or women themselves matter. To say otherwise is to practice benevolent sexism.

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