You’re Not Right. Get Over it. – By Sharideth Smith

I’m a political conservative. Yeah. I’m pretty sure Zack either had a new dad lack of judgement caused by no sleep or an aneurysm when he asked me to guest post. Who knows. Yet, here we are.

So I am going to take this opportunity to tell you silly liberals that you are not always right. You have not cornered the market on all knowledge and make the country and humanity at large work to the best of its ability.

And neither have the conservatives.

As far as I can tell, nobody has because trillion dollar deficit.

We, the collective US of A “we”, are overdue for some serious, put our pride aside dialogue. Matthew Paul Turner posted this on his Facebook page and I promptly stole it.

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Now I admittedly do not know as much as I should about Thomas Merton, but that little truth nugget should be required reading for everyone everywhere ever. Go ahead and read it again. I’ll wait.

I know, right?

The moment we begin to believe we know best and that those who disagree with us have nothing to offer, the world loses. The least of these…lose. The widows and orphans…lose. Common sense and accomplishment…lose. Anytime your pride is the only winner, something is very wrong.

I’m guessing you want some examples of how I think each side gets it wrong? And even if you don’t… Conservatives need to calm down and let people marry who they want to and liberals need to recognize that sometimes it is more compassionate to cut someone off of the government tit. Obama needs to stop being so ridiculously shady in his use of drones and Ted Cruz needs to…well…disappear. And everyone needs to stop spending so much fricking money.

Look, I use to be a tow-the-line Republican. There was time when the only Democrat I had voted for was actually a Republican running against an incumbent so terrible, the Democrats let him take their candidacy because they knew he could win. True story. I’ve sat on platform revision committees and given campaign advice to a gubernatorial candidate. I also use to listen to Rush Limbaugh every day. We all have our personal shame. That is mine. The point is, I know what it means to be devoted to a party and fight for all things Republican. But not anymore. I’m still a conservative, but I no longer affiliate with any particular party. Defending any single ideology based on political party is exhausting and ultimately leads to lazy introspection. You don’t have to change if you never have to think.

It is okay to admit when we’re wrong or that we have changed our minds or to listen to someone with a different perspective and concede that he may have a point. There is no shame in that. What we really should be ashamed of is our refusal to see past the end of our own voting ballot.

Don’t fear the conversation. Accept that there might be something for you to learn. If we all do that, God knows what we could get done. Literally.

What say you?

 

Sharideth Smith is a wife, a homeschooling mom, politically but not psychotically conservative, and a pool dolphin (shark is too strong a word) who sucks at darts, but rocks in the kitchen. You can check out her blog A Woman’s Guide To Women: A Blog For Men here and follow her on Twitter here.

 

  • Michael Raburn

    I think the US system works best when we have a fairly even mix of conservative and progressive leaders who work together, compromise, and take the Merton approach above. As I see it, we have two problems right now. One is just what you talked about, the arrogance and mutually villifying posture that attends all our politics right now.
    The other problem is that we don’t have a balance of conservative and progressive leaders. In terms of policy, Barack Obama has more in common with Richard Nixon than with John Kennedy. That’s a problem. Even worse, the Tea Partiers who are driving hard right would critique Nixon for being too liberal. If you are so far right that Nixon is liberal to you, then we have a serious problem. There can be no balance, no centrist voice, when the whole system has listed to starboard.
    So thanks for being politically but not psychotically conservative. We need more of you.

    • Jonathan B

      Personally, I think the US system is as messed up as it is in part BECAUSE it had too MUCH compromise. The system has been modified over at least a century of compromises to shift from what it was to an excess of what it was not, and that’s much of why it’s broken.

      That’s not to say there should never be compromises in government. Even the Constitution itself contains some compromises between what different groups wanted. There’s room to compromise on preferences; but when principles start to be compromised, you have a problem. Conservatives and progressives/liberals have incompatible and opposite principles and worldviews. When one group compromises their principles to achieve compromise, the nation becomes what the other group envisions by a series of small steps. Progressives/liberals/Democrats have always understood this and used it to convert the country gradually, over the decades, to match their vision. Groups like the Tea Party have arisen in part from conservatives suddenly realizing how far the country has slipped to the left from its founding, and that makes them adamantly anti-compromise in many areas to prevent it slipping further.

      • Michael Raburn

        I completely disagreement with your assessment. We have private, for-profit companies running our prisons. The US has shifted quite dramatically to the right over the past half-century. Obama’s policies regarding war and the Wall St. bail out are hardly discernible from the Bush-Cheney approach. The progressive voices have been lost. Our choices right now are somewhat right or far right.

        • Jonathan B

          The Wall Street bailout was half cronyism and half government takeover of significant chunks of the economy. A mixture of elitism and statism, neither of which are conservatism. Progressivism at its core believes that the country and people’s lives should be run by its self-appointed experts rather than left to the will of the people; Obama’s policies overall have been very in keeping with that, concentrating more and more power in the hands of the federal government and further curtailing individual rights and freedoms. Progressivism/liberalism/socialism talks of the people but inevitably concentrates power in an elite, simply due to human nature.

          I’ll grant you that Obama’s war policies have been a mixed bag, largely because he’s terrified of being perceived as having lost a war. His own ego causes him to try to look tough in low-risk ways. Low political risk, not necessarily low risk to the troops in harm’s way. But war policy does not a right-wing government make. The widespread intrusion of federal control into areas of daily life and business denied it by the Constitution is why I say it’s moved far to the left in the last century.

      • Maria Fife

        So what should we do when we have two opposing groups but insist on no compromise? Make two different countries? Civil war? One must dictate the other then, and our country was founded on personal representation and freedom from oppression.

        • Jonathan B

          The gridlock we had with the government shutdown WAS an example of personal representation. When the country is split, Congress is split. Which, if they’re representing the views of their constituents as they are supposed to be, is what should happen. Eventually, the country shifts enough to one side or the other to break it.

          Representatives should represent the opinions of their constituents within the bounds of their oath to uphold the Constitution. Which basically breaks down to:

          1) If their constituents want something the Constitution allows, then they should vote for a law approving it.

          2) If their constituents want something the Constitution does NOT allow, they should vote against a bill favoring that (in accordance with their oath), but should introduce an amendment to allow it (thus representing their constituents). The Constitution has an amendment process for a reason.

  • Andrew

    I appreciate this article and your perspective. It is so true that our American exceptionalist perspective is often times used against one another (which I believe is further propagated by partisan news media on both ends and tailored social media feeds and google searches), and I love that quote you used. My only question for the author is: don’t you sound a little hypocritical when you tell conservatives and democrats they are wrong on specific issues? The issue should have been addressed without bringing up specific issues because that is the exact point: the specific issues don’t matter, and whether you are right or wrong doesn’t matter if you had to run over your neighbor to make your point. I wish the author could have made this post without mentioning marriage equality or welfare or any other issue, because the paragraphs before beg a very important question of the author: What if YOU are wrong?

    • Sharideth

      I am happy to be wrong. It would be terribly boring, not to mention annoying, to be right all the time.

      • Andrew

        Beautifully said!

  • http://www.beckycastlemiller.com/ Becky Castle Miller

    But did Sherideth capitalize her own post properly, or did Zack have to go through and fix it? :)

  • Douglas Humphries

    AGREE! It is so great to find someone else exhausted with the whole political process as I am. And thank you for pointing on the specific ways that someone in the middle can agree and disagree with both sides. We are not a binary species or a binary country. It’s entirely possible to have a mix of views, and I would argue most people do, but acting like it’s one way or the other only cheapens and demeans everyone. Thank you.

  • http://middletree.blogspot.com James Williams

    At first glance, I was on board with you. I still agree with your general point, that neither party has a monopoly on truth, and that God isn’t any more happy with the views of one party over the other.
    But I will say that you contradict yourself here. That is, you point out that those who insist they hold the “correct” position are in error, but then you follow up by insisting that you know the correct position on a few topics: “Conservatives need to calm down and let people marry who they want to and liberals need to recognize that sometimes it is more compassionate to cut someone off of the government tit. Obama needs to stop being so ridiculously shady in his use of drones and Ted Cruz needs to…well…disappear”
    Isn’t the above declaration borderline-intolerant of the views of others on those topics?

    • Sharideth

      I am willing to dialogue about any and all of those things. I am not intolerant of anyone’s position about them and am always ready to be wrong. Opinions are not bad. They generate thought and conversation. To make the assumption I am intolerant is to shut down discourse and miss the point of this post entirely.

      • http://middletree.blogspot.com James Williams

        Sharideth, I’d have seen it as just your opinion if you hadn’t phrased it in such a way that it appeared that you believed those who held a particular view should change their view. How else am I to take “Conservatives need to …”
        and “liberals need to …” ?

        • Sharideth

          That’s totally fair. My only intention for that particular section was for it to be my own personal examples of playing both sides.

          • http://middletree.blogspot.com James Williams

            I probably said what I said a little too bluntly or in an accusing manner. That wasn’t my intention, and I apologize for my lack of tact.

          • Sharideth

            Isn’t that how things are done here at The American Jesus? :)

      • JBizzle
  • Eric Boersma

    I think you make some decent points, but I also think that you’re engaging in a bit of false equivalency, here.

    Sure, Democrats are wrong a lot. Republicans are wrong a lot, but in very different ways. Let’s take a look at a few of their opposing positions:

    Obama: I think we should raise the minimum wage.
    Republicans: You are the antichrist.

    Obama: I think we should implement your national health care plan.
    Republicans: That would be the worst thing to happen to this country since slavery.

    Obama: I think we should raise the minimum wage.
    Republicans: You are literally Hitler.

    Obama: I think we should embrace a religious diversity that welcomes all voices to the table.
    Republicans: You’re an atheist. And a Muslim.

    Obama: I don’t think we should kick gay people out of the military.
    Republicans: You like to have sex with men.

    The list could go on and on. We haven’t been able to have a substantive discussion about any policy in the United States in at least the last five years because conservative politics right now views itself as God’s chosen people, direct heirs of the Early Church, and loudly and directly proclaim that their politics are directly chosen by God as the One True Way and accuse anyone who holds even a slightly different view than them to be murderous tools of Satan.

    Obviously, not all conservatives are like this. You don’t seem to be like this. But lots are. Lots. And they’re the ones who have the mic right now, and they’re screaming. They’re children. Until the adults (like yourself) take over, this conversation has little merit and less chance of positive impact.

    I’ll still pray that you have success.

    • http://www.myfullemptynest.wordpress.com/ myfullemptynest

      That’s why I love this post. It is how things should be. Sadly, I know too many that are the way you just described. eek! oi! yowza! Great points here too.

    • Jonathan B

      Judging by your caricature of Republicans, you’re swallowing epic doses of Democrat demonization of Republicans which is not conducive to substantive discussion. Putting aside the party labels, the real differences are not between Republicans and Democrats but between conservatives and liberals/progressives. The more I talk to liberal friends, the more I’m convinced that conservatives and liberals live in not just different but opposite universes.

      The number one problem with many voters is that they listen to speeches about what the purpose of this or that is, it sounds good, so they vote for the politician who promises it. Yet, they often fail to examine what the bill actually DOES when implemented, not only in whether it works at its stated purpose but whether it implements things other than what it says. There is a difference between what SOUNDS good and what IS good, and too few voters in either party look deeper than the promises made. Which explains the re-election of an awful lot of people in both parties.

      Democrats might like to pretend that Obamacare implemented a Republican plan (personally, I didn’t like that plan much either), but the reality is that Obamacare as passed bears no real resemblance to the plan Democrats use to defend it. It’s a horrific disaster of a plan that’s causing millions of people to lose their coverage due to its regulations making their existing insurance plans illegal, is costing others work either being fired or cut back to part time to avoid its requirements, represents an enormous grab of federal power over the medical system and our own personal medical data, and gives un-elected bureaucrats unprecedented levels of control over anything and everything that touches health. We don’t even know the full extent of how terrible it will be because they’re still writing it. And the closer we get to full implementation, the larger the number of estimated people that will lack insurance after its full implementation becomes, till now it’s almost the same number as they claimed uninsured without Obamacre.

      Raising the minimum wage is murderous on low-skill workers, because it means companies hire fewer of them because they have to pay each one more. This is particularly hard on teenagers and minorities, who often occupy these jobs. Nor is it actually something the federal government has Constitutional authority to mandate. Many jobs are not even subject to minimum wage laws because the government can’t actually find even a thin veneer of authority to regulate them. There are a lot of things the federal government has gotten into over the last century that it has no authority to regulate.

  • CeeQ

    Agree. But what do you do if you have dear friendships that you don’t want to strain? Because you know if you let your friends know your real opinions, they might not want to be friends with you anymore? I know the obvious answer – but I’m not talking about crappy people here. I’m talking about sincere, genuine people who are incredibly kind and generous. But cannot fathom that being a liberal and being a Christian can be an actual thing. So….you see my dilemma =)

  • http://www.myfullemptynest.wordpress.com/ myfullemptynest

    YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.myfullemptynest.wordpress.com/ myfullemptynest

    And thank you for this post.

  • phrog

    “Obama: I think we should implement your national health care plan.Republicans: That would be the worst thing to happen to this country since slavery”

    No it worse than that…

  • JBizzle

    It’s time for Christians to start seeing issues not as political but as Biblical with political implications.

    Everyone should watch/listen to this. The most relevant and accurate update on the state of Christianity in America… and the world for that matter.
    The Problem with Christianity: http://youtu.be/6Rtic0yfaT8

    A few other interesting (and shorter) clips:
    A Call to Resurgence:
    http://marshill.com/media/special/special-a-call-to-resurgence-part-1-of-3
    6 Punches that KO’d the Church:
    http://marshill.com/media/special/special-6-punches-that-ko-d-the-church

  • Mudge

    Can Zack only talk about Dems & Reps, as if they were the only choices? If you don’t like the choices on the ballot, make your own. Yes, you can run for office.