I thought about that conversation when I read the two latests posts from Jim Wright at Stonekettle Station about the Sergeant Bergdahl case. Here's the first and here's the second.
Jim's second post was both a pleasure to read and a really bad commentary on the status of our political conversation these days. And yes, there is an element of "both sides" that applies here. In it he quotes from an email he received from a Marine Corp Captain. Even though I don't agree with all the Captain said, as Jim points out, he stated his position in a direct and respectful manner. I actually long for a conversation with someone who can do that. But Jim had to write a couple of addendums because commenters were so rude and discounting of this man's opinion.
I also love how Jim started the second post.
We are the sum of our parts.When we lock ourselves into a point of view and lock everyone out who doesn't see it the same way, we stunt this process of development over time and run the risk of loosing out on the wisdom that time and perspective can bring.
Our memories and our experiences shape who we are and, more importantly, how we see the world.
By definition, our worldview tends to change over time. That malleable viewpoint is influenced by a thousand things: friends and enemies and the indifferent, marriage, children, information both true and false, trauma, stress, grief, joy, depression, hope, rage, hate, love, education, reason, to name but a few.
Age often lends a certain perspective, not always, but often.
Sometimes that perspective can completely change who we are – sometimes we call that wisdom. Or not.
Sometimes we change ourselves. We don’t like who we are, and so we deliberately become someone else – ask any recovering alcoholic if you don’t know what I’m talking about. Or a born again Christian. Or a scrawny kid like me who joined the military and set out to prove something to himself. Sometimes it’s involuntary, driven by outside forces and influences – have a chat with veteran about PTSD if you need an example. And sometimes that change comes willie-nillie as we careen happily assbackward into the unknown.
And sometimes, well, sometimes life just hardens who we are.
It’s different for each of us.
I know that right now an awful lot of Republicans have gone off the deep end and are not likely to be able to participate in a discussion the way Jim's Marine Corp Captain did. But goddess help us if we ever give up even trying with the one's who can. Its not just their loss, its ours too.