Monday, September 21, 2009

My Values Do Not Always Make For Good Law

And quite possibly, neither do yours...

You really should never push out a post for the sake of generating comments. Something we never have a problem with when posting about NASCAR :)
I always smile when people do respond, thinking I'm the race buff, when it was Aly that brought me to the sport of left turns and 13.2 second pit stops to take on 4 tires, a wedge adjustment and a splash of gas...

All to explain why this post will appeal to me, with most everyone quickly exercising the left click option to go play elsewhere.

My oldest daughter and I were recently talking on the phone. Well, actually we talk on the phone pretty much every day but then what father/daughter doesn't?
DD shared an article she had just read and wanted me to check it out. She went on to say how the writer had helped to crystallize her feelings on a particular subject political and had given expression to her own thoughts in a way that seemed so effortless, so rich. Equally important, DD was impressed with the writer for not feeling intimidated to write what they were thinking. She wished she had more of that resolve, more of the writers courage.
In truth, I found her summing up my feelings of repressed expression on most things political.
It must be genetic.

My only words of wisdom were to pick her battles wisely. To learn as much as she could about the positions contrary to her own that others held fast. Being knowledgeable of their positions would be essential in formulating and expressing her own. To use a sports metaphor, it is the reason coaches and players study game films. To find the strengths of their opponent and their weaknesses.

Casual blogs and FB are horrible places to dialogue on sensitive issues. And on certain issues, dialogue has actually ended. We have passed the point of searching for middle ground. Compromise is seen as eroding one's principles, diplomacy as naive, consensus as fully unattainable.

I was sad after our conversation ended. Sad my daughter was witnessing a time in which Americans continued to place party before country. Sad when ideologue religious beliefs are waged as law for all. Sad she is hesitant to express her opinions for fear of vile pronouncements of being unpatriotic, un-Godly. Sad to witness a time of voices expressing hope for a President to fail in his leadership and calling it good for our country.
Sad that hate burns more intense than love for one another.

Dear sweet, beautiful daughter of mine. Your dreams are not in vain. What you think, has value. Your feelings, do matter. Yet know and believe our shortfalls are never defined as insurmountable. The intolerance's of today, not unlike the injustices of our yesterdays, will one day be made right.
Ours is a great nation. We can and we will be even greater. And with hands, hearts and minds such as yours, the work will continue and the luster and the beauty of her people will shine through...
Love you,
dad

6 comments:

Dita said...

Loved this post, Ford. Not only about what it says about your relationship with your daughter but about how it expresses many of the things I have been thinking and feeling over the past several years myself.

In a world where most Americans get their news in soundbytes and that front page of their internet browser, I often find myself wondering if we've crossed a point of no return...like life before a remote control for the television, or before the computer, or the cell phone.

Growing up I recall many a spirited debate at our family dining room table on all things political and on the current news stories of the day. There was always a devil's advocate (My Father)and we needed to defend our positions which we could only do by being very aware of what the other position was. Granted many of us were or were being groomed to be lawyers, but I thought all families did that. (Our meals would last for hours!) Today, very few families even sit down to dinner let alone have discourse.

I find that the immediate gratification of having EVERYTHING at our fingertips and the constant status updates of all things mundane on Facebook or Twitter has actually created a whole new category of people with VERY short attention spans and the inability or desire to focus on the long term or the big picture. Don't get me wrong, I think FB has a place but it is being used to actually replace many things that we will truly miss when they are gone (like the art of conversation).

The loss civility in our country that is masquerading as freedom of speech and democracy is disturbing to me too.

When the President of our country speaking to our school children is seen as anything less than an incedible honor and the outward showing that they matter becomes something sinister...my heart also breaks.

It breaks for the America I grew up in that meant opportunity for everyone (which also meant RESPECT for everyone) as well as the America we are becoming; the one our children will inherit.

I am not willing to give up on the greatness of this amazing country of ours and I am glad to see that you aren't either.

Thank you for the thought-provoking post!

Dita

PS
I speak to my father like you do with your DD most everyday and I can tell you that I cherish that kind of openness and discussion with him more than he will ever know.

Melissa said...

XXOO

Buckeyes & Eggrolls said...

I'm speechless (which isn't hard to be in that I'm not good and putting my thoughts down). I just think this post is totally amazing! And I think more parents should have conversations with their children (even grown children) everyday! I know I try to.

Don and Be said...

Another good reason why we love your family ....

Suzie said...

Your children are very lucky to have such an amazing Dad!

Vivian M said...

This was an awesome post!