June 10th, 2018
I sometimes meet people who are outraged by almost everything: limited access to birth control, attacks on LBGTQ rights, lack of action on climate change, white privilege, prejudice against immigrants, militarism, school shootings, ad infinitum. These individuals seem to have an unlimited capacity for righteous anger. They also seem to be convinced that everyone else should be as incensed as they are.
The people I mentioned in the preceding paragraph would probably qualify as liberals. There is a population on the right that serves as a mirror image. I think of those who rail against every aspect of secular humanism. It is difficult to know what they are for, but it obvious what they oppose. They know what they want to fight. It is unclear as to what they want to create.
I am suspicious of people who want to participate in every fight. I don’t see that is desirable to do so. I don’t see how it even possible to do so. It seems that some folks sign on to an entire agenda without ever considering what aspects are good and which are bad. They become total team players. Unconscious team players.
I don’t subscribe to any particular political agenda, mostly because I don’t have the stamina to do that. I only have so much time. I only have so much energy. I can’t be passionate about everything. However, I can be passionate about some things.
What am I passionate about? I care about veterans. I care about immigrants. I care about ex-prisoners. Why? I care about them because I know them.
I have a son who is an Iraqi War vet. He was in combat. He has PTSD. He suffers. I care about him, and by extension, I care about the welfare of other veterans.
My wife is an immigrant from Germany. My youngest son is in love with an immigrant from Peru. I lived overseas for three years. I understand the struggles of immigrants and foreigners. I care about them. To some extent, I have been in their shoes.
I love a young person who will soon be released from jail. Through her, I have come to know more about the criminal justice system than I ever wanted to know. I am aware of the fears and pain that ex-prisoners experience. I care about this young person I know, and I care about people who are like her.
In short, I have skin in the game.
I have focused my passion in areas that are important to me in a way that is up close and personal. Issues with vets and immigrants and ex-prisoners are real to me. None of this is theoretical. I am involved with these issues because I live with them every day.
I have chosen my battles.