Perhaps you recall our last visit during which we discussed the old farmer’s advice that it is often easier to simply plow around the stump. And indeed, it is. In other words, we must learn to block out our detractors and avoid distractions that will inevitably lead us down a path to nowhere. At the conclusion though, I cautioned that there were occasions when the stump needed removed as a matter of principle, times when we must stand up and fight for what was right. I believe that should be explored in more depth today.
We live in a time when many of our beliefs and principles are held tightly in confidence for fear of creating offense or making enemies. And isn’t that truly sad? It is a shame firstly that we can’t share our thoughts for those fears, but it’s detrimental that our society is incapable of listening to differing viewpoints without an angry exchange. You see, we need to have those conversations. We must have them if we hope to leave a better world for future generations (which should be enough common ground for a starting point). It is when we actually listen to opposing views that we can learn and grow, even if our opinion remains unchanged. We must relearn the art of civilized debate all the way from Washington, D.C. down to Main Street. There was a time when great minds discussed and debated even greater ideas. Now only small minds argue over even smaller issues.
When we boldly stand up for what we believe, not everyone will agree. Churchill said, “You have enemies? Good. It means you stood up for something once in your life.” Yes, you will make enemies, but don’t allow yourself to be the cause—engage in a debate of the issue, avoid personal interferences, and always be civil. If you make enemies, make them in the pursuit of what is right. When we take that advice, mountains can be moved by people with vastly different ideas of just how to move them. It can be done. It is how our great country was built, and the lack of that civilized debate is how that same great country can be destroyed. Start here and now. Stand up for what you believe is right, present your case with passion, but without malice for your opponent, and watch the results. Our world can be transformed not when we obstinately refuse to budge from our position, nor when we allow ourselves to be railroaded by the opinions of others, but rather when we have an open dialogue which results in the collective resolution to common problems. I suppose that’s what you’d call “Porch Swing Politics.”