I have opinions. Of course I do. Opinions that I hope are moderately well-considered and founded on as many facts of the situation that I’ve been able to discern.
I even have politically-motivated opinions. Not necessarily mainstream politically-motivated (I am suspicious of party politics since most of the views held by parties are more about the parties than they are about the well-being of society).
And generally I keep my opinions to myself while admittedly sometimes being susceptible to a knee-jerk response. In that I am human and in that I often find out I’ve been wrongheaded when more information comes my way.
What this ramble is all about is the fact that I, at times, have been hit on Facebook and in emails by no small number of petitions in which those that send them want me to back their drive for whatever.
All I can say is, good luck with that. Especially as it applies to my involvement. I generally don’t rally to ‘causes’, even well-principled ones because, mainly, they are causes and there are some who subscribe to certain views with whom I do not share philosophical principles. So, I don’t want my name to be included with theirs in some sort of a general mix.
I make my own decisions. Well, sometimes my wife helps, but you know what I mean.
Part of this philosophy – if it is indeed a philosophy – is based on the fact that I’m a longtime journalist so in order to maintain credibility I like to play my cards close to the chest so that nobody will question my objectivity.
My friends run the spectrum of politics and God love them for it. I tend to run the same spectrum within myself, depending on the circumstances. In any case, we live in a democratic society and they (and I) are entitled and if such individuals have political views I don’t share, but they are otherwise human beings I value, then I don’t give a rat’s-ass how they vote or what causes they rally to.
It reminds me of the time when I had an ongoing newspaper column and was stopped on the street by a reader who, while gratifyingly a fan of my column, wondered why I never declared myself politically.
“Why should I lose half my readership?” I asked him. “Those that don’t like my politics will simply stop reading me and I will forever be seen as biased.”
Now, on FB, for example, I will share items with which I agree, or I will ‘like’ certain postings by others, but my likings are based on general ethical principles and philosophies rather than partisanship.
Otherwise, what I believe really shouldn’t matter a fig to anybody in terms of whatever respect they might have or might not have for me as a person. I may fully agree with a stance taken by a friend whom I respect, but I won’t necessarily rally to a cause.
Maybe I’m a coward. Maybe I should be prepared to be more ‘out there’. I possibly don’t want to commit because somebody might offer a counter-argument that is closer to my actual belief system.
In saying all of this stuff, I do have a belief system. I think it’s largely situational in the sense that one-size fits all arguments make me wary. You know, it’s a bit like believing or not believing in God. I admire those people who can come right out and say they are atheists. Gee, I’m not sure I want to do that. What if I’m wrong and there is a God and He gets me for that? Then I’d be damned to perdition for a bit of sophistry.
So, maybe there is a God and maybe he does or doesn’t look like William Blake’s version and He understands that I evoke His name when I need a little help and my friends or loved ones just aren’t cutting it in my foxhole.
Same with politics. I think most human generated philosophies reek, but I tend to believe in democracy and agree with Churchill (as if he needed my agreement) that democracy is the best of all bad systems.