Read this good article first, then read this.
That linked article is a good read, even if the title is a bit sensationalist. I love the juxtaposition of how the writer makes your realize you both love and hate the exact same ideal presented in two different ways. John mentioned me in his link to the article and while this started out as a comment there, I figured I should just make my own post because it’s a topic very dear to my heart and mind.
My problem is with our country’s divide. From day one of this election year, my battle tune has been the same: I hope the 2 party system dies. To me, it is the 2 party system that is feeding, energizing and growing this great divide. With 2 sides, you can’t agree on anything because that means you’ve “joined the other side”. With more than 2 parties, you can compromise and still be seen as being true to yourself. Why am I so certain that we can kill the 2 party system and still be okay? Because I’ve never been a one party kinda guy.
I’m outside the divide. I’m a big city boy, have been most of my life (I LOVE New York and Hong Kong), but was also very spiritually minded for again my whole life. I grew up poor in an inner-city ghetto, but am now close to a 1%er living in farm country of a red state (and love the small town, family friendly vibe).
I charge a pretty penny for my labors of building apps for companies, but give back by building apps to help the nations poorest people. I also donate a lot of time for my church calling, all gratis because humans are meant to shelp each other. I also don’t mind paying taxes on that money I make, because I think we should pay for services we consume and should help those that need help. I love fine dining meals and Taco Bell feasts equally. I can cook an amazing french dinner for four hours or a mean pan of top ramen in 4 minutes and eat both with the same fervor.
I don’t care what car I drive (they’re run of the mill cars, not flashy ones, and my wife picks the cars not me) and will use public transport (like I did for the 27 years I didn’t drive!!). I don’t care which clothes I wear (which is why I tell my Alison to buy them for me, but she won’t, I *can say* though they’re not name brand in the slightest and most are free handouts from conferences!). I’ve worn the same suit every Sunday for about 15 years now. I don’t own a mansion, but my home is slightly big because we’re in the burbs and I, by pure luck, bought at the lowest price after the housing crash. I do have a lot of tech gadgets, but that’s more for work. My laptop is 4 years old (a dinosaur in computer terms, but still gets the job done) and my iPhone is still not even upgraded yet because no clients are clamoring for anything iPhone 7 specific.
I’ve always believed in a God and the teachings of Jesus Christ. I’ve been a member of 2 churches: The Catholic Church for my first 23 years of life (almost became a priest, but stopped because I wanted to get married) and then switched over to team mormon, i.e. the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (joined after getting married and realizing I can hold the priesthood after all! Yay!). I’m not the fire and brimstone, “You’re going to hell, heathen!” kinda “Christian”. I’d like to think I’m the Jesus Christ kinda christian that loves all people equally, servers them humbly and seeks to make the world a better place.
I love science. I think the universe is way old and the earth has been around a few billion years, not several thousand years like some other religious folks. I believe global warming is real but like Kerry Mullis (a Nobel prize winning science guy) think part of it is just our planet’s regular cycle. However, the scriptures say we should take care of our planet, so I do believe in moving to renewable energies, recycling, etc. and don’t understand why so many religious folks just waste our planets resources for no reason. I think aliens are out there (come on, how could they not be!) but doubt I’ll be around long enough to meet them. I’m okay with that because I believe heaven is out there too (come on, how could it not be!).
If all this conflicting viewpoints can live in the same body at the same time, then we as a country can mix all those viewpoints together as well. We don’t need solely two parties/labels to apply to ourselves and we certainly don’t need to “pick a side”. There is no sides, there’s just you and how you feel about each and every issue. Which can be totally non-partisan, sometimes spiritual, sometimes scientific, sometimes liberal, sometimes conservative. You’re a complex being, celebrate and revel in that. Don’t paint yourself into a corner with a label, you deserve better and we need that complex citizen because its that complexity that makes this country so special.