"Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God." ~ Noah Webster

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Same Circles

I received an email today, from my gentleman friend that discusses politics with me from time to time.

I have never met this man, but a couple years ago, I had written a Letter to the Editor of our local paper and apparently, he didn’t like some of the things I said in my letter. I’m sure my name came up in conversation somewhere, due to this letter, because it wasn’t long before a mutual friend contacted me to let me know that this man would like to have my email address so he could discuss my letter with me.  My friend asked me if it would be alright to share my email address with him. 

“Sure” I told her, “Go ahead and give it to him.”  I had known of this man through politics in our area for some time, and I had read many of his letters to the editor as well.  I also knew he was a Christian.  He requested connections with me in the correct way, and my friend also handled it appropriately. I appreciated that she didn’t simply give out my email without asking me.

Anyway, because of that, he and I have corresponded through email over certain issues ever since.  Most of the correspondence is regarding Ron Paul, and I very comfortably explain: “He started it!  I just continue it.”  He has an email list he utilizes, to routinely send political information. I have explained my position to him thoroughly, and suggested a couple of times that because of our differences, he should remove me from his mailing list.  He has not removed me (thus far); so I continue to email him back from time to time with my rebuttal.  Fair is fair, after all.

Most of the time I enjoy our discussion; sometimes I do not. Today was one of those times that I most definitely didn’t enjoy it. So to temper my anger at his comments today, I walked away from it for awhile to try to decide exactly how I wanted to respond.

This is a very pro Ron Paul area where we live and I would suspect that I am not particularly popular in some circles, because of my position; though no one locally has ever been rude to me. I don’t believe I have ever been rude to anyone either regarding these politics; I certainly have never intended any animosity or impolite behavior.  I am a firm believer that discussion is not only good, but important and necessary.  How does one learn ones position, if we are afraid to discuss these matters?  How does truth prevail, if not for debating both sides? How does one decide for whom to vote, if one hasn’t researched a candidate’s position? What better way to do that than to find out what others might know, or may have observed?

No, these primary politics are never fun, but they are indeed necessary and an important part of our election process.

Not long ago, I went to an event where I was quite certain there would be many Ron Paul supporters.  Had I been anywhere but my hometown, I’m sure I would have felt a little bit like Daniel walking into a lion’s den. But locally, I have never been treated poorly for my views.  Now, nationally; it is another story - I know I ruffled feathers even when I didn’t intend to, by the attacks that I received over comments I made, simply because someone asked my opinion.  Talk about a set up! And Ron Paul’s supporters are known to be the “most faithful” – sometimes read “aggressive” - anywhere.

Anyway, a good friend was also at this local event. This particular friend is one with whom I have had a few Paul discussions. He gave me a big wave and a sparkling smile as he does every time I see him. I was relieved; he always remains as friendly as ever, despite the recent ratcheting up of events in the political arena.

His good nature and affability is always heart warming; and I think a lot of him, his wife and their beautiful family.  His consistent amicable attitude toward me caused me to reflect on one of our last discussions.

We were at a public place, but it was somewhere where a political discussion would not be out of line.  In fact, it was somewhere where discussion would be expected, as politics was the nature of the event.  He and I were bantering back and forth a bit, and he was no doubt winning the debate, fully prepared for anything I might throw back at him. Plus, I have never been one to quickly “think on my feet” verbally.  I felt I was holding my own, however.

It wasn’t long before a man approached us and said, “Man, what are you doing to this poor lady?”  My friend laughed as he hugged me and told the man, “This is a family friend and she is no POOR lady!! She is doing just fine!” We both had a sincere laugh. The debate was over, but his final comment made me feel really good.  It told me, I was holding my own, and that despite our differences, he still respected me for my view point.

I appreciated that so much.  I love that there are people that appreciate the dialogue in the same manner that I do. He wanted to share his views, because he believes in them so strongly, but yet he still allowed me to share mine knowing I believe the way I do just as strongly as he.

There was a time in my life I would never speak up like this, but as I get older and time gets shorter, (and so does patience, I guess) I now speak up more often.  I know one isn’t always able to do that with everybody. Sometimes dialogue must be curtailed; sometimes it can’t take place at all.  But through the example of this friend and the kind manner in which he has consistently treated me, hopefully I will always remember to treat my “email friend” just as respectfully.  I know I will try my best to respond kindly to his disturbing email; but no doubt, I WILL respond. My beliefs require it.

I do look forward to the day when this gentleman and I eventually meet.  I know we will one day.  It seems we travel in the same circles.

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