What I Believe I’ve been

I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, and waiting for the write
time to sit down and get it all out. Jen and Max are napping, and the
NCAA men’s basketball tournament is muted in the background. Now seems
like as good a time as any.

I’ve been trying to come up with a simple, boiled down to its root,
statement of belief. Robert Fulghum talks about doing this himself in
his first book, and well, it’s always seemed like a good idea. Now that
I’m a father, I figured I’ll have to eventually communicate to my son
what I believe in succinctly and clearly and I should be ready to have
that conversation. So, here it goes: I believe in contradictions.

The Bible says that there is opposition in all things. For there to be
good, there has to also be evil, etc, etc. While I believe that to be
true, I think it goes deeper than that, in that there are very few cut
and dried issues in this life. Every day, we make decisions that lie in
the grey, in-between place between perfectly right and absolutely wrong.
The challenge is to balance life’s contradictions into making the grey
as light as possible.

Here are some of the contradictions I’ve found that have led me to my
statement of belief:

  1. Our political system is fundamentally flawed but perfectly
    designed.
    Representative Democracy is the greatest form of
    government ever conceived. The governed have the right to change the
    leadership fairly frequently, and almost all decisions made by the
    representative branches should be open to public scrutiny. It’s
    perfectly conceived and balanced to provide representation of the people
    without bringing everything to a standstill so every citizen can vote on
    every decision (which would be a pure democracy). The system is
    fundamentally flawed because we have a lazy electorate. In order for
    there to be true representation, the represented must have a clear
    understanding of each candidate’s views and political affiliations. They
    must also keep their representatives accountable and vote them out if
    they fail to represent their constituents correctly. That’s not
    happening, unfortunately. Less than half of the citizens eligible to
    vote in this country bother. Leaving it up to about 40% of the
    population to choose our leaders, and I would guess that a good majority
    of them vote along party lines because either they’re lazy or out of
    some crazed sense of tradition. It makes for career politicians who
    pander to lobbyists and corporations instead of their constituents.

  2. I believe in both God and Evolution. Yeah, you heard it right. I
    believe in God and Evolution. I think that dinosaurs existed and that
    species evolved into other species to give us the flora and fauna we
    have on this earth. I’m not sure I believe that man evolved from
    ape-like creatures, but I don’t think it’s impossible. I believe that
    God created the heavens and the earth and everything on it, and for us
    to strictly translate Genesis and say, “Well, God just said let it be,
    and there it was” is not giving Him enough credit. Saying that man
    evolved is not a denial of divine origin. It is an acknowledgement that,
    given the evidence we have, He may have taken the scenic route in the
    act of creation and started a process He knew would result in humanity.
    It just makes sense to me that way. Saying the universe and the
    resulting “us” is an accident doesn’t make sense. Neither does saying
    that Genesis is the literal process of creation make any sense to me
    either. I think it’s somewhere in the middle, in the grey.

There are more, and I’m going to try to write them down as I think of
them and can put them into words.

As a slightly-related aside, I started seriously thinking about writing
this down after watching the HBO Special Monica in Black and
White
. It was a documentary showing the timeline of the whole nasty
affair, and a Q&A session that Monica Lewinsky held, all filimed in
lovely soft focus black and white. The part that really got me thinking
was a statement from an audience member. He stood up and said basically
that he was offended that she was being dishonest and presenting a
spinned and self-serving version of the story. He found it disturbing
that she was presenting her story about her story and her pain and not
the “truth”. No, really? She gave a view, however it was spun, of her
view of what happened. If it was Bill Clinton on that stage crying his
eyes out, it would be his view of what happened. The same if it had been
Linda Tripp had been up there. She would have been presented as a
national hero who did what any of us would have done, and Monica would
have been the doltish slut who seduced the president instead of the
naive girl seduced by the most powerful man in the world that Monica
presented. There are very few completely honest accounts of anything in
history. The winners write history, and unfortunately, the only way to
piece together these self-serving accounts and try to come up with a
comprehensive picture of what happened. I had no problem with what was
presented on the show. In fact, I think it’s about time she be able to
tell her story (I didn’t read her book, so it’s the first time I’ve even
heard her speak, I think). Everyone else involved got to tell their’s
first, which makes her’s seem less honest when we cloud story with
“fact” as presented by the other parties.

I think that’s enough opining for a Sunday afternoon… see y’all
tomorrow.

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