Thursday, August 20, 2009

Extreme - Not Just A Rock Band Anymore

I am a low drama but high intensity kinda girl. I like to keep it lighthearted, easy not sleazy, and neat-o mosquito. But every now and again something comes along that makes my heart lurch a little bit...almost with a tense anxiousness that pops up when you least expect it. You (the reader) are probably wondering where I'm going with this...pondering about what the punchline is going to be. Well, there is no punchline. I will just say it.

Extremism scares me.

What is "extremism"? In my book it's when people are extremely to the left, or so extremely to the right that they can not see the common ground that either side is standing upon. Extremism lends itself to ignorance, intolerance, blind hostility, and a myriad of other social ills that we (as a people) tend to on a day to day basis.

Now someone once tried to argue me down by saying that if I didn't feel strongly this way or strongly that way, then I was wishy washy, and that was more dangerous than being an extremist. According to this person I was too easily swayed because I look for the "grey" areas. I don't necessarily agree with that view point though. Nothing (and I do mean nothing) in this world is AT ALL as it seems, so in my opinion, you should look for the grey areas. For me, grey = common and once you can find the commonality in things you can begin to move forward and make substantial progress. And just because you're grey does not mean that you don't have a set of beliefs on which you stand firm. For me it just means that you are more understanding of the beliefs of others - even if you don't agree with them.

I'm going to teach my daughter to be "grey" too. If she is going to live in this world with all the millions of different cultures, beliefs, religions, etc. , she's got to be. She will learn to be compassionate to the plights of others, understanding of why different people do different things, and tolerant of peoples differences. HOWEVER...I do not expect her to be tolerant of ignorance, hate, violence, and intolerance, among other things. In my opinion, those are all the beginnings of dangerous extremism, and if she's going to be an extremist of any sort, let it be in love and peace - something that will bring people together as opposed to drawing the dividing lines deeper in the sand.


Eva Gallant said...

Excellent post; if only Congress could be a little more gray, we might see health care reform, and who knows what else they might accomplish! kudos to you for teaching tolerance!

Kelly said...

Okay, if you are like me, and I know you are because you are AWESOME!... it's easy to be in the "grey area" because of compassion and empathy. Sometimes I think I have my mind made up on an issue and then I meet someone who's life shows me the other side. It's called being open-minded. My parents raised me to have opinions, but my own opinions, and I so love them for that. And guess what? It's okay to change your mind! It's all part of growing and learning. Great post!

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