Tuesday, February 22, 2005

I Love the Liberals I Love

I love the liberals I love because they're not the liberals the Right paints when the Right paints liberals.

The liberals I love want the truth. They crave and fight with all their guts for justice. They care about facts more than personalities and politics. They care more about what's right than what feels right. They care about people more than almost anyone else cares about people. And they care about people no matter what those people have done or are doing, or will do, no matter what manner of sins have been committed. That doesn't mean they like these people or want good things for them or, at the end of the day, don't want them killed. But they care enough to consider them.

Now, some liberals go too far, don't think enough, don't ask enough real questions, don't peel off the layers of dust and baloney to find the truth and what's really going on. Others are too weak. They think love is all flowers and should never be tough. They think you can win a war started by bad guys by not fighting back. Others don't really care about much except themselves and their own comfort level and the way they have made the world out to be in their own heads, and in their friends' heads.

The liberals I love, though, care passionately about what's right, and what the truth is, and who's really doing the right thing and who isn't. The liberals I love thought Clinton was a great politician and a louse of a husband. The liberals I love admit it when Bush helped to bring democracy to Iraq, and they give him credit for it, even though they questioned some of the thinking behind the war. The liberals I love only vocalize the party line when they've decided after a lot of work that it's right. Otherwise, they state their own claims. Make their own voices heard without resonance from look-alikes.

So to all you Conservative, Right-wingers out there who are just as easy for me to caricature, make sure you're careful when you call someone a Liberal. Because, without knowing it, you're going to make a mistake and completely mischaracterize a liberal I love.

When I read that George W. Bush mentioned to his friend who was secretly taping him that he would not cater to the Religious Right and ostracize gays because they are sinners and so is he and who is he to judge them, I thought: "this is a statement I'd expect from a liberal I love." Whether you are Christian or not, religious or not, there is justice in that. And I respect that.

To me, there are no Blue States or Red States. Only the people I respect.

God, Can You Make George Stop Buggin' Me?

If God has given us free will, what is appropriate for us to request in prayer, for those of us who are convinced that such communication is a meaningful way to speak with God? Certainly we can choose to pray, but is it appropriate to ask God to affect others' free will as it affects us?

In other words, when one asks God to protect him from harm, is he not asking God to prevent the person who is not paying attention to the traffic jam in the left turn lane from ramming his car into mine? Is he not asking God to make sure another person doesn't cough without covering her mouth, whereby she infects me with influenza?

At one point does prayer ask too much? If God gave us free will, and "respects" it--in the sense that people are "allowed" to do whatever they want, good, bad, or neutral--then what are we doing asking God to help us with our circumstances, many of which involve the free wills of others?

It's one thing to thank God for helping you become strong enough and fit enough and smart enough to make the winning soccer goal. It's another thing to thank God for "letting you" win when the other side wants the win just as bad. That's another point: Does God take sides? In matters where there is no "good" or "bad," such as a soccer game, does God just ignore the whole winning thing all together?

In what does God intervene? Certainly, His ways are mysterious. But why "allow" so much pain, tradegy, hatred, disgrace, disease when he "could" intervene? That said, why would God look out for Great-uncle Jim who suffers from cancer but "let" a baby be killed by its drunken, rage-filled father?

What about what's important? Isn't a sick person fighting for his life more meaningful to God that whether I do well in my graduate-school exam?

Shouldn't we respect God by keeping some of our worries, our troubles, our thoughts, to ourselves?

One might answer: God can handle it all. Fine. But does anyone have any idea what our responsibility is? Isn't it to be reasonable and do the best we can? That's really all I can ask for help with, right? I can't ask God to prevent someone from killing me, can I? Or can I, because killing me would certainly be wrong?

That said, should we only pray for the morally right stuff? Nix the prayers for finishing the work project on time?

A friend of mine offers what she describes as the most apt prayer: "Thy will be done."

Perhaps that's where we should leave it.


I've heard and read that as many as 10,000 people per month are being killed in the Sudan as a result of ethnic hatred leveled by an ethnic minority power. And the enlightened countries of the world have swept this aside.

Is this situation not as "morally intolerable," as Bush said, as the Iraq under Saddam, or (for political honesty, at least) the reprehensible slaughter that was ignored in Rwanda (for which Clinton later apologized)?

What's the deal? Is it because these people are Africans? What is it? They don't trade with us? Politically insignificant? Just not important enough?