Wednesday, November 7, 2012

God Bless These United States of Argument

I'm glad to see the leader of the free world in such high praise of argument.  This was my favorite part of President Obama's 2012 victory speech:

"Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated. We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply held beliefs. And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy.  That won't change after tonight, and it shouldn't. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty. We can never forget that as we speak people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter, the chance to cast their ballots like we did today."

People often argue with me to quit arguing so much.  But I don't want to.  I like to argue.  I like to communicate with others and open my mind to various points of view.  Just as our bodies need exercise to stay healthy and strong, so do our minds and our values.  If I believe something only because I always have, that's pretty lazy.  I like to believe things I've thought through.  Beliefs are like birds, or lovers, or whatever is the subject of that metaphor about letting things fly off and if they return you were meant to hold on to them.

So enjoy a little argument from time to time.  It's good for you.  Don't worry.  If your values are solid enough, you won't lose them as you toss them into the unknown atmosphere that surrounds a decent disagreement.