Sunday, October 17, 2010

Never Ending Now

An acquaintance who serves in the Connecticut Legislature's lower house is seeking re-election and because God has a sense of humor, I enjoy his energy and engagement a great deal and don't live in his district and cannot vote for him. Of course, since he's a pragmatist, he could just as easily point out the good news is I can't vote for his opponent. Sort of the grey cloud surrounding the silver lining (they just don't get the good press the way they used to).

I read in an article someone posted on Saturday a by-District analysis of every candidate seeking elected office across Connecticut (you probably have some kind of a voter's guide similar to this where you live) and there's been lots of chatter about who's a 'liberal' or a 'conservative.' And, from the way some of the comments on the reader boards are flowing the L word isn't the one the Showtime producers were banking on. I'm surprised at the number of folks I know seeking office who exult in calling themselves one or the other of the terms, like it was some sort of a badge, when it's a label for the thinking impaired.

Remember in high school with too much homework due at the same time, you'd grab a Cliff's Notes version of one (or more) of the mandatory reading assignments and rationalize it with 'what's the harm?' Let's face it, it's not like they made cheat sheets for trig or chemistry like they did for Tolstoy, right? I look back and realize some (or more) of my English teachers had to know I was dialing it up and phoning it in. They figured, correctly I'd argue, that the guy getting the short end of the deal was I since I was depriving myself of actually enjoying and learning from some of the best of 20th Century American Literature. Probably still not caught up.

And that's the danger of the label and the drive-by analysis. All ducks are birds, but not all birds are ducks. If you can reduce the world in which we live to a one word political perspective in how you will be guided, and or how you will lead if chosen, I have a very different word to describe you and it's a lot more accurate than you'd like. I cannot believe you just clicked on that link and now you're angry at anyone other than yourself for so doing! C'mon....

My point-nobody eats just chocolate ice cream, or just vanilla or just any single flavor at all. We see the world through a perspective developed by everyone we've ever met and ever known. We are all of those people, just not all at the same time. We are the most complex organism on the planet, the crown of creation (with apologies to Marty and Paul) so it's silly and stupid to limit yourself to one-dimensional thought, especially in a world as complex as the one in which we are living. We owned all the tools ourselves but not the skills to make a shelf with. The Never Ending Now becomes a prison and not the sanctuary. Too late, we recognize the face of the jailer as our own.
-bill kenny

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