Columns, Opinion

RAMONES: Stepping out of our Moccasins

I can’t help but feel a little hopeful after Barack Obama became the president-elect. While most of us were celebrating this historical moment, there were, of course, those drowning their sorrows in what seemed to be doomsday.

I’m not a Republican. Far from it. I enjoyed wearing my Obama shirts three days in a row during election week. I’m as Democrat as they come, but I can understand why someone can be Republican. It may have come from my years as a high school debater, living with my conservative ‘-‘- occasionally bordering on racist ‘-‘- grandparents, or from my core belief that it’s more important to learn than to be right.

Sometimes it’s easy to be completely wrapped up in our beliefs, especially during times of elections and times when we seem to be the majority. We forget how it feels to be in the other person’s shoes because our shoes are glued to one side of the spectrum. I’m guilty of this prejudice as well; I was one of the first to say that if John McCain got elected I was moving to another hemisphere. But then, as I realized that some of my closest friends and people I deeply respect didn’t necessarily believe the same things I did, I took a deep breath and jumped into their model of the world.

I agree that we can never fully walk in someone else’s moccasins. But if we use that as an excuse to keep us from respecting someone else’s world view, we are no better than the extremists who terrorize other people because they decided to stop wearing a cross, decided to speak another language or decided to show a bit of cleavage.

Take a moment to see things from your polar opposite’s point of view. I mean really feel how they feel, speak how they speak and see things how they see it. Realize that not one person in this world can be completely right or completely wrong. Realize that people aren’t just their opinions or their behaviors.

See things from the outside and from a place of curiosity where you invest no emotion in it, and then you can really reach a point of compromise. At the end of the day, we all really want the same thing, and it’s also a lot easier to convince someone of your ideas when you see it from their side of the table.

If it is truly time for our world to grow beyond a place where we decide someone else’s capabilities, then it begins with us ‘-‘- the people who shaped this election ‘-‘- to step up and, as hippie-esque as it sounds, step beyond our limited perceptions and our ‘in group’ and ‘out group’ evolutionary trappings and see the world through someone else’s eyes. Even if it’s just the roommate, family member, friend, professor, frenemy, enemy, terrorist or whomever we’re having a conflict with. It is time that we realize that what happens to us is not just about the individual getting by, but our interconnected global society flourishing as a whole.

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One Comment

  1. I love the Ramones and it is too bad that tow of the members have died. America wants to be sedated, and should be.

    What does this have to do with the Ramones again?<p/>I am another Buddhist for Peace and Obama is going to be another great American President much like Kennedy or Clinton. Any we didn’t have to settle for Sarah Palin as a vice-president. John McCain is a good man and bright; he just doesn’t get the peace thing. Sarah Palin makes our current President (Bush) looks bright. I looked in Wikipedia under dumb, and low and behold, there was her picture (right next to Bush’s). You know what they say, “Organized Religion, Righteous Leaders and Uneducated Voters for a better America”.<p/>Obama, obviously a very religious man, seems to do a better job of separating his religious beliefs from his responsibilities to the people of the United States. I truly believe that we will rebuild our relationship with the world (it only took Bush a few years to destroy it) quickly (6-18 months). I may actual travel outside of North America again!!! Let’s hope for the best; we cannot do any worse.<p/>(One a side note, is there a law under separation of state and religion that requires that the candidates believe in God and thank him by name in their speeches? As an atheist, I would like to make a choice when voting for elected officials; I would like to make the chance to vote for people who don’t believe that dinosaurs lived 6000 years ago, wine turns into blood (inspire of medical evidence to the contrary, or an invisible man). America talks a lot about Jews, Christians, and Moslems; but almost never about the two atheistic religions and atheism, Buddhism and Hindu. BTW, there are 1,500,000 Buddhists, 1,000,000 Hindus and 2,500,000 Atheists in the US alone, and only; and only 4,000,000 Jews and 1,500,000 Moslems. There are approximately 250, 0000,000 Christians but they include Catholics (and I never understood my non-Catholic Christians don’t accept Catholics are Christians). And if God is perfect, why does he keep rewriting his books anyway? And sell them on Amazon?)<p/>Obama would be characterized as an evil person, if he did not “praise God”. I realize that he is religious, but is that freedom? Or is everyone afraid to speak out! Go see Religulous. Please. It will make you think. Wow! What a concept.<p/>Footnote