Sunday, September 6, 2009

Still not winning them over, but maybe starting to at least play the same game

This post was going to be just a comment on a previous post. Worth rereading, for the context. Someone wrote in yesterday to respond to that post, and she commented as follows:
Hi Troy, I'm JaneLovesJesus. It's kinda' weird that I even stumbled upon your post ... it being months old and all and I'm sure we've both moved on to other things.
But, what the hey? Since I did stumble on it, I thought I'd respond.
One thing: Did you really think I was equating Palin to God? I mean, if I say "I like ice cream" and "I like freedom" I'm not equating ice cream with freedom, right? I may 'have faith' in Sarah Palin, in general. But please be assured that it is not that kind of 'Faith' -heh.

I also don't think she (or me, Lord knows) -- or any Christian -- has some sort of infallibility cloak around them so that every thing we do is necessarily 'God's will' or something. We -- perhaps not unlike you, read, think, research, go to Harvard sometimes (but not me!)ask questions, discuss, try, fail, and try again in the course of trying to seek truth and make wise decisions.

I can admit when I'm wrong. I used to be a liberal Democrat -- and I was a Christian back then as well. Let that bounce around in your head for a while. I do hope that you -- and all people -- find faith in Christ, because I believe it is true. I don't think Christians, even the right wing species, are the strawmen you seem to make us out to be.
Take Care, Jane

So I wrote the following response, which I tried post as another comment to the original post, but apparently I can get a little wordy, and Blogger didn't think the Comments were the right forum, so I repackage it here as a new post, which hopefully will draw JaneLovesJesus's attention better than the original intended comment ever could have. But enough, already. Here is what I wrote in response:

Hi JaneLovesJesus. I want to respond to a couple of your points, but more than anything, I want to thank you for taking the time to elaborate/clarify, and for the classy manner in which you did so.

I obviously take your word for it on equating your faith in Palin with your faith in God. My response here is only in answer to your question, did I really think you were equating God and Palin. And, I mean, obviously, the answer is yes, so the response is more to explain why. To wit: You talked about your faith in Him and in her in the same sentence. And you said you were 'at peace' over her decision to resign, which is a phrase I hear far more often describing one of God's decisions, as it were: death. As in, in case I am not being clear at all, someone being 'at peace' with their coming death. And lastly, you said you did not need to know Palin's plans. Again, this is a word often used in the context of God by people with Faith: knowing God's plan, or His plan for me. Again, totally willing to accept your clarification at face value, but hopefully you can see where it seemed to me like you viewed them in the same light. I never thought you equated God and Palin, but in the context of the original post on which you were commenting -- "why they hate her, and Him, and why she, and He, will be back" -- I assume you can see why I interpreted your comment the way I did.

But I do want to say this: Even if I got it wrong about your Faith and faith being the same, I think what I extrapolated is true of many others. I think if it would be possible to take yourself out of my post, you might see where my conclusions would maybe describe some other people we know.

But I think all that speaks to the part of my post I worded most poorly: I generalized. Again. Which isn't as bad as it seems, I don't think. I mean, the mindset I described apparently was not yours, which robs my words of much of any power of truth, but as I said, I think they do apply to a number of people. And it is those people I feel I understand better now that I read your words all those weeks ago, even if, ironically, you were not one of them. And so this was a good thing that came out of this, if I'm right; if I now better understand a number of people with whom I radically, fundamentally disagree, I don't see how that can be a bad thing. No meaningful discourse can ever take place between two people who fail to understand each other, I don't think, and I much prefer it to just thinking they're dumb. If I did that, the shortcoming would of course be mine, but again, I think it's at least a little understandable. Until I had that revelation, I assumed that people who had access to the same facts I did and yet came to the opposite conclusion (i.e., McCain/Palin over Obama/Biden) were incapable of using logic -- their brains, would be another way of looking it. Now I believe that some of those people employ logic in other scenarios, but don't believe logic is the most important quality to apply in major decisions in politics and life. I believe that they believe that the most important thing in the world is faith in God, and they make it a point to keep their own faith in him, and certainly God is infallible. My faith is not the same as the faith these people have, but I believe I understand it; I believe there is a kernel that is common to their faith and to mine. When life is at its most challenging, I am known to tell those I care about that the bad things in our lives happen for a reason. I believe that the people I was writing about two months ago believe this too, and maybe have a more complete worldview thought out, and for them, this translates to people like Palin being something like God's instruments on Earth. Palin believes the things they believe, and she is prominent in the political party they support, and so she cannot fail, because that would be a misstep by God. There must be some way to explain away what seems to us haters like a failure, to frame it as a good thing.

Again, I am not saying this is true of you. And I thank you for your words on that other site and on mine, which I feel have helped me become a fairer if not better person. But at the very least, I hope you will leave here knowing that really, none of 'us' hate Sarah Palin because God loves her. Most of us who hate her actually hate her because she rose to a prominent position in one of the two major political parties in this country and then snarkily belittled an opponent who as near as I can tell is smart, hard-working, talented, and progressive. He seems to me to want to put the country in a better position, he seems to know what that better position is, and to boot, he seems to believe a lot of the same things I do, to which I'm sure you can relate. After the previous two Democrat candidates for president (and certainly after his predecessor as president), he seems like a rare animal -- and Sarah Palin belittled him and spread lies about him and influenced what at times seems like half the nation to hate him, made his job exponentially harder after he was overwhelmingly (for a presidential election) elected, and now he can't address friggin' schoolkids without a large swath of the right thinking he wants to turn them into socialists. And she does it smugly and snarkily while stepping in crap every time I read about her. It's like the guy who sunk AIG coming into my office and criticizing one of my financial decisions. I'm not clear where she thinks she earned the right to speak on the topic and be taken seriously. The only place God comes into it is that a lot of us think she's using her faith in Him to manipulate these people I've been writing about. If she truly loved Jesus, we believe, it would show.

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