I’ll start with me. I’ll be happy to admit that I have a skewed view on life and that I don’t even know close to everything about anything and am wrong ALOT! I am an artist who has dedicated her whole life to all things heart and humor and the wisdom and joy I can bring to the world based on that is truly valuable, but when it comes to knowing the facts and therefore the best course of action for fixing the healthcare system, or the political system, financial system, education system, or hot button issues like gun control, or birth control I am a sandwich short of a picnic.
Oh believe me, I do really try to keep informed as much as one can inform themselves while also maintaining a full time career and relationships, and I have my opinions like everyone else, the difference is I know they are simply my opinions and so I typically keep them to myself. I know that my opinions have formed, not based on the facts of those issues (because I have yet to find time in my schedule for things like reading the new healthcare law page for page), instead my views have formed based on who I am and what I have chosen to focus on in life and therefore should not be imposed on others, especially not in the form of a law everyone else has to abide by.
Here’s a perfect example. I don’t like guns. I just don’t and I can’t help it. I am an artist and what that means is that while most of the world spends their lives building up their emotional and sometimes physical walls to protect themselves from the atrocities of the world, I have willfully and intentionally spent my life tearing them down. As an artist I need full access to the wide range of emotions we feel as humans in order to be good at what I do, but when you live from that space you are going to feel differently about things. It’s very difficult for me to see people hurting each other and often I just want it to stop, and guns, well, even the idea of the pain they can inflict makes me shudder, which I why I exercise my right not to own one, but….and this is a big BUT…I get that that is just because of who I am, which is why I do not try to take away the rights of others to own them.
Even though I am an artist, I am also a grown up and I get that I am not living in Utopia and that the gun issue is complicated. I get that it is all tied up with our freedom and power and that, historically, there have been times when a gun is the only thing that has stood in the way of free or not free. I get that its possible that removing guns from our system could cause a chain reaction of consequences that might end up causing more pain than it will solve. I would really like to believe that that is not true, but the truth is I just don’t know. I have been blessed in my life not to meet the types of people who would take my life if I was standing in the way of what they wanted, but I know others who have not been so lucky and they feel very differently about guns and I have to respect that.
Now my point in this was not to talk about the gun issue, or any of the other issues specifically, it is to show how important it is for all of us to admit we have a view that may or may not be helpful to the whole. If we admit we have a view, then we can have a grown up discussion. WE ALL HAVE VIEWS and depending on what conversation we are having at the time some people’s views are more important than others.
For example right now we are having a giant discussion about Healthcare and I will tell you right now that my view on this issue matters very little. I am largely clueless on the intricate workings of this cluster of a system and the ramifications of changing it, and therefore I have mostly stayed silent. But I’m not just checking out and trying to skirt my responsibility to society. I am listening very intently and trying as hard as I can to educate myself to see if there is a way I can make a difference. What would help is if all those, like myself, whose views don’t really matter on this particular subject, would also admit it and voluntarily shut up. Stop spamming our airwaves and internet with agenda filled, emotionally fueled misinformation so that we could all hear the views of those whose opinions on this subject do matter.
The people I would like to hear from, but haven’t really from all the noise, are Doctors, Nurses and Hospital Administrators. They’ve dedicated their whole lives to this particular system and I believe their view matters. And then after that I would like to hear from individuals with experience in all sides of the Insurance industry because I think we can all agree we need some sort of financial safety net in the event of emergencies or chronic diseases. But I don’t want to hear from just any Doctors, Nurses or Insurance experts. I want to hear from those who have a proven track record of caring about the community at large, who get that the system is complicated, who consistently operate with a high level of integrity and personal responsibility and have a tendency to look at the big picture. Their opinions are the only ones that really matter to me on this subject.
After that I would be happy to hear from the political parties, various religious leaders and on and on, but one at a time, and with a spirit of how to be a part of the solution. If you have a legitimate objection based on the view you represent, fine, but honor the fact that it comes from your view, and that your view doesn’t necessarily speak for all the people and therefore it is your responsibility to offer a solution that honors your view while not taking away the rights of others who don’t share your view. The more extreme your view, the more creative you are going to have to get.
I really believe that in order to maintain the privilege of living in a free society that is as complex as ours, we are going to have to really work at it, and that yelling at each other and dividing ourselves into special interest groups so we can reinforce our side is not “working at it”.
We are attempting to do the impossible here. We are attempting to coexist peacefully while including and honoring the concerns of countless religious, cultural and political views. No country has ever even attempted this at the level we have, and probably for good reason, but I believe we have the potential to do it and that we can be that great of a society but I think its going to take, at the very least, these 6 things: 1) A desire to actually be a collective society of this scale 2) Acceptance that your view is only your view 3) The maturity to not expect the whole of society to adapt to your views in order for you to be happy 4) The creativity to figure out how to adapt your views to fit into society without compromising your personal beliefs and well being 5) Personal responsibility for how you both help and harm society 6) A commitment to a level of integrity that makes you a person society can trust when the time comes for them to rely on you for your personal area of expertise.
But that’s just my view. 🙂