That's Something You Don't See Every Day, Chauncey

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Archive for August, 2012

I always get the Apostles’ Creed and Apollo Creed mixed up.

Posted by kozemp on August 29, 2012

It is an election year, and there is a lot of talk about what people believe. Who believes what. Who believes this. Who believes that.

Let me tell you what I believe.

I believe we’re all in this together.

I believe that the strong have a responsibility to protect the weak. I believe those who have more have a responsibility to share with those who have less. I believe that it isn’t “help” if you make someone feel bad for needing it. I believe that government assistance with strings attached isn’t “help” either, but turning people into serfs of a feudal lord. I believe that a free country means that people have to be free to make bad decisions, and that we should help them anyway after they do, because our first responsibility is to each other.

I believe in science. I believe in data. I believe in hard numbers and falsifiable hypotheses. But at the same time I believe that the fundamental core of our being is unquantifiable and immeasurable, and that everything that is truly extraordinary about our brief existence springs from it, and that there are yet still things beyond our understanding and beyond the ability of science and mathematics to describe accurately. I believe there is more in heaven and earth.

I believe in Superman. I believe in the Doctor. I believe in Yoda. I believe in Bruce Springsteen. I believe in truth, justice, and the American way. I believe in the triumph of intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism. I believe that anger, fear, and aggression are of the dark side. I believe in blood brothers and the promised land.

I believe in talking instead of fighting, in discussion instead of confrontation, and in compromise instead of conflict. I don’t even like fighting in hockey. I believe that ignorance is the root of all conflict – ignorance of others, ignorance of self, ignorance of environment – and that there is no problem that a combination of education and discussion can’t solve. I believe that violence of any kind is a last, worst resort. Remember: a Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never attack.

I believe, wholeheartedly, in the First Amendment. I believe in free speech. I believe in a free press. I believe in freedom of religion. I believe in freedom FROM religion. I believe in the right to free association. I also believe that those who enjoy the protection of the First Amendment have a responsibility to not act like dickheads about it.

I believe that whether he was divine or not, which I personally cannot be certain of either way, Jesus said some pretty smart things: Be good to each other. Forgive one another. Help other people. Life is better when you try to do the right thing.

I believe that as words to live by go, it’s hard to find much better than those. I also believe Jesus and Yoda would get on pretty well.

I believe that the things that separate and limit us – race, creed, gender, orientation, income, nationality, anything – are artificial and meaningless, especially when you consider that only a handful of genes separate us from our cats. I believe that, for however much those things separate and limit us, we can do better. As a city, as a country, as a species, I believe that for all the remarkable things we have done we can still do and be better, and that even if we don’t succeed, trying to do and be better and falling short is better than not trying at all.

I believe that by serving others we serve ourselves.

I believe we’re all in this together.

JLK

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