Now, in this presidential election year, I find myself forced to start paying more attention to politics. And I have a lot to catch up on.
It's funny, though, the other day I was telling someone that my political views have shifted some over the years. They assumed that what I meant by that was that I have become more conservative.
They were surprised when I shared with them that actually my shift has been more toward the center ... because I could not have gone further right than I was before.
But more than anything, I have discovered that I hate political labels. Conservative or Liberal. Left or Right. Blue or Red. Why must we reduce our political views to be so polarized? It doesn't make sense to me. How do you reduce something so huge as public policy down to two extremes? The end result is that these labels end up representing a wide variety up things, and it really bugs me to think that we must separate folks into one group or the other.
I recently traded FaceBook messages with an old college friend (actually she's my age but it's been years since we were in college) and she told me that, over the years, she has struggled with this as well. Here's what she wrote: "I had to explain to people how I could be a far right wing-evangelical-charismatic...pacifist."
It is weird. I find myself quite conservative in the areas of fiscal and economic policy as well as on abortion ... but my ever-emerging heart for injustice draws me toward the center or even the left.
But there's no place for me.
Our culture forces candidates to adopt the fullness of one stance or the other -- Liberal or Conservative ... nothing in between allowed.
Does that bother anyone else?