Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

You Are Also Right

Today, I'm going to go somewhere I rarely go: politics.

In Fiddler on the Roof, the learned man Perchik says to Tevye, "He is right, and he is right?  They cannot both be right."  After a brief pause for consideration, Tevye responds, "You are also right."

This interchange pretty accurately describes my feelings about politics.  Put me in a room with two divisively opposite opinions, and I will no doubt see validity in both arguments.

I like to think it's not that I can't form my own opinions.  If you know me at all, you'll know I have plenty of those.  But when it comes to politics, the issues transcend my personal opinions as decisions and policies affect such a diverse population.  I often struggle to reconcile what feels right to me as what would be right for the whole.

I'd make a terrible politician.  I like the philosophy behind it all; politics makes for such interesting discussions.  But when it came down to actual decision-making and implementation, I'd just run the other way.

Unable to do much more than nod my head in understanding and agreement, I tend to shy away from political debates.  But as I read the post of a friend on Facebook (and the resulting comments), the topic struck a common chord with a book I just finished, Cry, the Beloved Country.

Set in apartheid South Africa, the book dealt with many issues surrounding the governing white people and the native blacks who made up the labor force.  A prevalent discussion was the benefits verses risks associated with educating the labor force.  The arguments for and against were framed by what would be best for the white citizens.  The main argument for education included a reduced crime rate and an increase in production.  Arguments against included the possibility of an uprising.

With that as my mental backdrop, I processed the political discussion differently than I might have otherwise.  I still came to no decisive conclusions, but I'm currently stuck in the mental process.  But it isn't really the issue (should states offer in-state tuition to children of illegal immigrants) which I found most interesting.  Instead, it is the perspective from which we view the issue.

Option 1:  How does it affect me?
- Why should I have to pay for their education?
- If I pay for their education, I am potentially reducing the crime rate making my state safer.
- I would rather pay for their education than their prison cell or deportation.
- It is in the best interest of our church [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints] to have its people better educated and better able to support themselves.

Option 2: How does it affect them?
- (No supporting evidence from Facebook)

And a sidenote: Should there be a me and a them, or is it feasible to achieve some us?

And a derivative question: Should government concern itself at all with overall humanity and charity, or is it an entity created to simply protect its own?

I'm stuck.  Standing on a fence looking down at two beautiful pastures.  One where we can all walk around with Christlike charity.  One where the law is the law, and it protects the most honest and hardworking of us.  I'd like to live in both, but at my core, I don't think it is possible in our imperfect world.

And so who is right?

He is right, and he is right, and whatever comments you may have, you are also right.