Thursday, June 27, 2013

Voting and Labeling

Every time I log onto Facebook I'm asked what I'm thinking, and more times than not, I think to myself "I better not be honest here."  Lately I have had so many different thoughts running through my head, so many strong opinions and then times when I question myself as to whether I have an opinion on a subject at all, or I reflect on how my opinions have changed over time.

I have always considered myself to be stubborn and opinionated, and if I believe that I am right, I will argue my belief to the end.  But recently I've found myself questioning beliefs I have had for so many years, and I wonder if I'm softening over the years, or not being true to myself, or maybe just changing with the times.  Maybe things aren't as black and white as I once believed them to be.

I steer away from political discussions whenever they arise.  I dread voting.  There never seems to be a candidate who believes everything I believe, and then I am left relying on my Dad's advice to just choose the things that are most important to me, and try to choose the candidate who best supports the same beliefs.  Well, that is becoming more and more difficult for me in recent elections.  Maybe it's  because my beliefs aren't as black and white as they once were. Maybe it's because issues that once didn't personally impact me now do, but one thing is certain, I dread voting.  I wish the questions on the ballot weren't "yes" or "no" answers because my beliefs have conditions.  I wish the candidates didn't take positions on 10 different things, 4 of which you support and 6 of which you don't.  How do you pick which oval to color in?  And no, contrary to my sister's belief, you don't pick the more handsome candidate, although in thinking about it, the ovals I choose do seem to be the better-looking ones.

Another thing that has been troubling me lately, and if I'm being honest with myself, angers me is labeling.  We teach our children to be accepting of everyone, regardless of race, sexual preference or religious beliefs.  We teach our children to respect others and not to judge and not to bully.  Yet I see adults, some in positions of power, who do this all the time.  I believe people can change and that people make mistakes that shouldn't label them and define who they are for the rest of time. And sometimes these people are trying, really trying to break out of that label, to change sometimes from all that they've ever known, and to become better people.  They are trying, and for many it isn't easy.  They deserve a chance to rid themselves of that label, to learn from their mistakes and become the person they desire to be.  They do not deserve to be constantly reminded of their mistakes or to be told they are nothing more than that label.  Give them a chance and rejoice in their successes; praise and lift them up instead of stepping on them and pushing them right back down.

And finally, be true to you.  At the end of the day you have to defend your actions, your beliefs and your opinions.  Believe in yourself, believe that you are more than that label, believe that you can peel that label off and give yourself a new one, whatever you want it to be. 

1 comment:

  1. Man, do I hear you! As I've grown up, I've changed so very much. Not the core of myself, not my soul, but my thoughts and beliefs. It's hard to look at something with 40-year-old eyes and all those life experiences the same way you did with 15 to 20-year-old eyes, isn't it? But that's a good thing, I think. We should be learning. Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it's difficult, but I think those are the times that end up teaching us the most important lessons... I totally know what you mean, though, especially about voting. It's almost impossible to be totally happy with your vote - it often feels like choosing the lesser of 2 evils, and that sucks. And like you, I will defend my beliefs strongly but I so hate confrontation and arguments, so I often just keep my mouth shut to avoid them. ;) Love you!