Brethren

Daily, I read news regarding Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination as a Supreme Court justice and I find all of it to be nothing more than a sad bit of finger pointing, rather than a constructive vetting process.  Congress and seemingly everyone else, is too busy using his nomination process to divide and demonize each other leaving no one to seriously look at Kavanaugh the man.  Is Brett Kavanaugh qualified, a rapist, a liar, one of the above, all of the above?   Even if I thought my representatives would listen to me or anyone else, rather than just voting party line, I still wouldn’t know what to say to them about Brett Kavanaugh’s fitness for the position.  At this point I don’t think anyone truly knows what is real and what is fiction about the man because the circus music is just too damn loud.

The direction that the Kavanaugh proceedings have taken, as well as the 24/7 partisan attacks, had me thinking of a few of Thomas Jefferson’s words.  I realize that Thomas Jefferson, like Brett Kavanaugh, and like every other person who has ever walked this planet, is a mixed bag of good and bad.  On the bad side, Thomas Jefferson was a slave holder and by today’s standards a rapist?   On the good side of things Thomas Jefferson helped set the stage for building a nation where neither slavery nor rape are accepted.  Here’s what he said that had me thinking.

“Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans. We are all Federalists.”

“If we disagree, let us disagree as rational friends.”

The Federalist and Republican Parties of yesteryear have long since faded or morphed out of existence, however new names have arisen: Conservative, Progressive, Liberal, Socialist, Republican, Democrat, Green, Libertarian, and to some extent Christian, Jew, Muslim, Athiest, Black, White, People of Color, Man, Woman, Gay, Straight, Other,  etc.  President Jefferson’s message though remains the same, value people because they are people, not because of some grouping scheme with a catchy name.  Think for a second, regardless of how you decide to slice and dice humanity up into little groups, everyone in every group is still part of that big group that we call humanity.  We all want to feel loved, valued, respected, etc… so ya’know go ahead, disagree, have a difference of opinion, have long heated arguments if you must, but really never forget that we are family.  Also never forget that beginning a comment or a conversation with an attack usually backfires, as in you just swished one in the other teams basket.

Another thing I’ve been hearing more lately, especially since the last presidential election, is that today’s situation is unprecedented, or is somehow unique.  Well we need to get over that notion because today’s situation is not unique by any measure.  This is not a Kavanaugh thing, a Trump thing, an Obama thing, a Clinton thing, a this thing or a that thing, this is a human thing and we humans keep doing this thing over and over and over again.   We divide ourselves into factions, clicks, parties, etc. and then we proceed to demonize the “others” because they are not “us”.  Still think that this is just a Trump thing?  How long ago was the 16th century?  Anyone else have to read Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice?  Do you remember Shylock?

“I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die?”

Sure, Shylock took things to the dark with his whole flesh as collateral revenge thing, but he made a timeless point; we should all be treating each other the same regardless of labels or lack of labels, because as President Jefferson said, we are all brethren.

I am finding more and more that the circus life is just not for me, so forgive me if I choose to just turn off the circus, ignore those who wish to divide, and go on more bike rides.  Also forgive me for using both the “R” word and the “D” word, but their use seemed apropos.

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Garin

Poor as my writing might be, I still like to write. I’ve written a blog or two in the past, but at one point or another they each became a chore rather than a joyful pastime. C.S. Lewis said, regarding writing, “Write about what really interests you, whether it is real things or imaginary things, and nothing else.” I will be following Lewis’ advice so this blog, which bears my name, will remain a joyful pastime. Hope you like bikes.

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