Monday, June 29, 2009

An Aversion to Labels

I have a real aversion to the need to label everything and everyone. It has always bugged me. Once the label has been attached, all preconceived notions begin to fall into place. The need to dig deeper is abandoned as they have been neatly categorized and judged. No further thought is necessary.

And it really doesn't matter what the label is: Liberal, conservative, Republican, Democrat, Military, gay, straight, Black, Mexican, Asian, Muslim, Christian or Buddhist. There are always words attached to each term. Say for example, "Rightwing." My first thought is: extremist. But is that fair?

In the past it has been the political labeling that bothered me the most. My leanings are decidedly liberal and I am an admitted member of the Democratic Party. My political heroes growing up were Walter Mondale, Paul Wellstone and Hubert Humphrey. But, I am also a reborn Christian who was raised in the Catholic church. For some that would automatically bring the assumption that I was anti-abortion. Hmm?

Abortion is one of those topics I will not discuss. I have actually stopped discussing any controversial issues. Why? Because everyone seems to have such extreme views. Any discussion is probably not going to change the mind of anyone. In fact, it generally solidifies their belief because they have to justify their positions. So what is the point? After awhile it just becomes so much mental masturbation. I am not going to change your mind and you are not likely to change mine. So lets just forget about all of that nonsense and just be friends.

And I have to admit that at the age of 54, some of my views are fairly set. But, trust me, my ideals and positions are what they are because they have evolved through experience and life, my life and my experience. I don't claim to be right and everyone else to be wrong. That would be stupid. I think differences can be a beautiful thing, whether they be opinions or whatever. Each individual evolves in their own way through choices made be themselves and others, through events over which they sometimes have no control, through environment that shapes them and molds them into the person that they are. It is all of these things which cause them to form their value systems and shapes their opinions.

Now comes the really difficult part. How do I pull all of this mess together. Can I bring all of these rambling thoughts to a conclusion? Well let's see... I started at the very beginning with an aversion to labels. I feel that in applying a label to someone, you don't allow them to be anything else. They have been categorized and accepted or not. In doing so, you fail to see the whole person. You might not see that you actually might have things in common.

What it really comes down to for me is respect. We don't know the life the other person has lead that has caused them to form the opinions and views that they have. It is okay to disagree, but show respect for the other person while doing so. What if they don't respect you? Well be the better person and respect them anyway...

Maybe there is no way to neatly pull all of this together. I am kind of all over the place today. Ah, what the hell! Life is confusing and it's Monday. That should be excuse enough...

So find a way to end this please?

I guess all I have to say is don't label me, categorize or judge me. You don't know where I have been or what I have been through. Respect me and my opinions... or don't. Accept me for who I am... or don't. Your choice. And if you don't... your loss.

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Blogger Rottlady of the Ozarks said...

I agree with you that respect sums it all up, regardless of our opinions as long as we respect each other and our differing the world is a better place.

A very thought provoking piece Mary.

June 29, 2009 at 12:36 PM  
Blogger azsky13 said...

Thanks Elizabeth, I always value your opinion...


June 29, 2009 at 11:49 PM  
Blogger fugitive247 said...

Labels are for soup cans. Even if the label is missing or inaccurate, it's still the contents that count. ;oD

June 30, 2009 at 12:46 AM  
Blogger Angel said...

Amen Mary. Good thoughts. Well written.



June 30, 2009 at 8:50 AM  
Blogger azsky13 said...

@fugie and Angel... Thank you both for coming by. I was kind of in rant mood yesterday... glad you liked it! :)

June 30, 2009 at 8:54 AM  

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