Politics: Conservatives and Liberals Are Almost As Similar As They Are Different
Some things I learned at Gallaudet are the product of living in the nation’s political capitol, Washington, DC, and from attending a liberal-minded university. Before moving to DC, I had never been involved with politics. I knew we had three branches of government, two major political parties, and I knew that, at the time, George W. Bush was President, Dick Cheney was Vice President, and Condoleezza Rice was the Secretary of State. That was the extent of all my knowledge of politics. Seriously.
Thankfully, I had a friend in DC who was a political science major who was working for the White House. In order to keep up with his stories every weekend when we would get together for sight-seeing trips or for church, I had to learn more than who the top three political leaders were in the United States. I learned about several Senators and Congresspeople, who were some of the major foreign political leaders, who was on the White House staff, how politics is REALLY run, what policies were being considered or put into place, how elections are run, what each political party stood for, what each upcoming candidates stood for, and what these people who are running our government were really like in person.
It was a great opportunity for me. While I learned all of these facts, I was also learning something about myself: what I believed and stood for and what kind of persecution and oppression I was going to experience as a result of these beliefs.
Since I was learning all of this in DC, my first encounters with others of opposing (and similar) views obviously took place at GallaudetUniversity. I have said before that I am a Conservative Independent. Because of what I believe (both politically and about Jesus Christ), teachers, friends, and acquaintances have called me closed-minded, fanatic, discriminatory, egotistical, brain-washed, un-educated, and stupid.
“Why?” I ask.
I have firm beliefs about who I am and what I stand for. I am a follower of Jesus Christ, and I believe what the Bible teaches is true and life-changing. My beliefs are my own. I make my own decisions. I have all kinds of friends of different races and walks of life who I love and care about, but who know that, because of what I believe in the Bible, I cannot approve of some of their actions. We spend time together and have fun anyway! I am not un-educated. I have a high school diploma, an Associate’s Degree, and I am working towards my BA Degree. I am not stupid. I had a 3.9 GPA in high school, a 3.89 GPA (4.0 in my major courses) in junior college, and I have a 3.96 GPA at my current four-year university. So why do people accuse me of and ridicule me for something that I am not?
What people do not realize is that most everyone is just like me. They are closed-minded fanatics who “don’t accept other’s ideas or points of view” and they have their own firm beliefs. They may not believe the same things I do and they may have a different view on how to handle an issue, but just as I firmly believe what I believe, so do liberals and moderates believe what they believe. They are not going to easily change their minds about what they are passionate about and believe is true and neither am I. They say that I do not accept their point of view and that I am discriminating against others because of it. Just look at what they are saying! Neither are they accepting my point of view. Does that mean that they are discriminating against me?
I think that we have lost sight of the fact that we live in a free country–a democracy–where we can hold any point of view and not be persecuted for it by others or by our government. We are all as similar as we are different. We all have a faith and certain beliefs that we hold dear. It just may not be the same as someone else’s. You may be a Christian, an Atheist, an Agnostic, a Muslim, a Hindu, or from any other religion. You may be democratic, republican, independent, green, constitutionalist, libertarian, or of any other political party. We can still respect each other no matter what.
Now, respecting one another and compromising are two different things. You can still keep your beliefs and faith without disrespecting someone else and compromising yourself. For example, I wrote in a History paper that Christians (and consequently, myself) believe that there is one way to heaven and that way is through Jesus Christ. My professor then told me that, by saying that, I was being egotistical. He said that there is no such thing as absolutes and I had no right to say that there is one way to heaven.
I almost wanted to ask him if he was absolutely sure about that.
Instead, I told him that for me to say that I did not believe that Jesus was the only way, I would be denying a foundational belief of mine and could not be a Follower of Jesus Christ as a result. Why would anyone tell me to deny my faith and never say that Jesus is the only way? Would he have told a Muslim that Allah and Muhammad could not be the only way? Would he have said something similar to someone of another religion? No, I do not believe that he would have.
I know that I would never tell a person to deny what they believe. I may try to show a person the love of Christ. I may try to convince them that their only Savior is Jesus Christ. However, it is up to that person (not me) to either continue believing what they believe or to allow the Holy Spirit to change their lives. Personally, I believe that people of other faiths are lost. I disagree with them on what is true because my standard for truth is the Bible. But, in the same way, they think that I am just as lost as I believe that they are! I may try to “convert” them out of love and fear for what I believe will happen to them if they do not trust Jesus as their only Savior, but they are going to try just as hard to “convert” me!
Am I wrong for doing the same thing as everyone else? My teacher tried to convert me into believing that there are no absolutes. Does this mean that others can try to convert each other (and me) and use arguments from their perspectives and beliefs, but I cannot? It is just something to think about.
We are all more similar than we are different. We just go around magnifying and celebrating our differences and uniqueness when we should be focusing on what makes us the most alike, and consequently, what brings us together. We all have a void inside of us that we need and try to fill. Some turn to God to fill their hearts and lives, others try to fill their lives with good works, money, power, Buddha, Muhammad, or any other number of entities and things.
As a result, people make decisions and take stances on political agendas that support their beliefs and treasures. So, while we all have differing political views and religious beliefs, we should focus on the fact that we all have political views and religious beliefs period. It does not matter that they are different. We can hold onto our beliefs and still respect each other. Conservative or Liberal, it does not matter. We are almost as similar as we are different and that is all that matters.