Tuesday, March 15, 2005

On Being Post-Conservative

I have had some comments on this blog over the months attacking me or assuming that because of my pro-human rights hopes (ie. equal rights for all peoples, regardless of sexual preference), because of my frustrations with the US President, and because I have hopes of a world where poverty is extinguished, that I am a liberal.

Now while the title of this post might lead some to think of post-conservative as anti-conservative, I think I must clarify. I just mean that my time in the conservative parts of the nation, within the conservative parts of the social structure, and within the conservative parts of religious and philosophical thought have led me to want to venture beyond it. I am a recovering conservative fundamentalist. But I don't really desire to become a fundamentalist for the other side... Liberals can be just as fundamentalist as the right.

My hope is to somehow look forward at where we can go as humanity. My hope is that we will eventually be able to hear each other's sides of the dialogue. That is at least what we are trying to do.

I think one of the tell-tale signs that America has gone in a sad direction in holding onto its ethnocentric fundamentalism is that after 9/11, we never stopped to say why might they have done this... and could they have had any 'validity' in their angst against the US. (I am not saying that I think 9/11 was a good thing.) Instead of using that as a moment where we could evaluate our position in the world and our relation with other peoples, we just punched back... on whomever we could find. A line was quickly drawn, and we were the good guys. And it's not that simple.

I think America is a great country, full of hope and inspiration and generosity... but also full of greed, manipulation, selfishness, and narrow-mindedness. And that is what I critique, as an insider, as a member of this thing called the USA.

I do wish we could move beyond all the name calling and silly assumptions, but I have to recognize that I am at least as much a part of the problem as any 'fundy' whom I would seek to dialogue with... and for that I apologize.

So, here's to moving forward... Cheers!

3 comments:

Nathan Phelps said...

I hope you didn't consider my comments an attack. And frankly, I do seek dialogue... that would require you respond to my comments.

And seriously, what is Neal up to?

Ryan Lee Sharp said...

hey man, good to hear from you...

you'll have to forgive me, with prepping for our trip and getting stuff tidied up around here, i don't have time to offer completely thoughtful responses to all you had to say...

you bring up some great points...

i wish i could be as optimistic about the crusades of bush being a good way to end the tyranny that is poverty, but i don't... with all the poverty in the united states and in other countries that we have essentially colonized (through economic means at least), it is not a promising situation... especially when done in force...

regarding the role of government or communities of faith in helping to relinquish poverty or in helping to redistribute funds more equally, i think both must be present at the conversation... i do admire the heart of so many red states that have such generous hearts... i think that california has much to learn from that... it seems that the wealthiest are seldom the most generous...

again, i wish i could be more optimistic about bush's thoughts on faith-based initiatives, but he has not delivered much at all... it was (as i read), the shiny cross that he wore on his neck, but meant little to nothing...

i do think that communities of faith are doing great things in helping the least of these, but i do not think that we are seeing much headway under faith-based initiatives... something else/more must be done...

perhaps we will be the ones who will be writing policy in the years to come... and i can only hope that we will venture beyond red and blue, beyond also just seeking america's best interests and begin looking at humanity's best interests... but perhaps that is too hopeful... i guess we'll see...

neil is great... married, building his own home in flower mound... working at nortel...

Nathan Phelps said...

I would agree that Faith Based Initiative have gone basically nowhere... but not because of a lack of trying. Would you not agree that the left brought up all sorts of objections from the get go; from "separation of Church and State" to the recent legal challenge to the Salvation Army on their hiring policy. Could Bush put more weight behind it? Absolutely, but can't you give him credit for starting the debate and proposing some original ideas?

I'd be interested to hear what you propose we do about poverty... I suppose it includes socialism...

Wasn't Neil working at Nortel way back when? If so, he's been there a long time.

Anyway, you guys have fun on your trip. Of course, when you live on the beach why would you need a vacation....