Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Country, Right...or Left

© Paul Moore |

Today is Halloween, and that’s a scary thought for those who believe in witches and goblins. But even scarier, in my opinion, is the fact that every year just after Halloween, there’s an election. This means, depending upon whether you lean to the left or the right, and upon which party is in power, someone is bound to be disappointed or downright angry. On the other hand, someone is going to be clicking his or her heels and popping open a bottle of champagne.
            Now, anyone who knows me even a bit probably realizes that I am to the left of the left. But last night I was at a gathering with a group of friends who are mostly right-wingers. It’s a strange but true fact that in this—need I say it—“great” country of ours you are bound to run into people of all kinds with all kinds of political, religious, and other types of beliefs. Some choose to “hang out” only with those of their own kind, but I have a habit of making friends with all types of people.
            Of course, at times this can be tricky, and last night when the conversation turned toward gun owning there was a moment when I considered bolting out the door. But then someone started cracking jokes and before I knew it I was howling with laughter. Though these particular friends are Republicans, you see, they are also funny as hell, and when I had a bout with an undesirable disease (actually, I can’t think of a single, desirable disease) a few years back, they all took turns bringing my family dinner. So yes, they lean to the right, but does that make them wrong about everything?
            It’s part of my yogic quest in life to refrain from judging others. This doesn’t mean that I don’t vote in a way that reflects my beliefs, or that I don’t give money to causes that are peaceful, or that I won’t stand up and express myself verbally or otherwise when it comes to war, the environment, or other issues. It does mean, however, that I try not to disparage or look down upon people who don’t think the way I do.  As my first beloved yoga teacher used to put it, “Who are we to judge?”
            I guess the point that I’m trying to make is even though elections are frightening, especially for the losers, we need to keep the things we all have in common in focus. Friends are friends, whether they are blue or red, and I love my country (but not more than I love humanity and the world) whether it is right…or left.
            Happy Halloween!

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