Our speaker yesterday at MOPS led us through exercises in defining freedom in our stories. What are our yeses and nos? How do we achieve those? It was an incredible experience and made me reflect on my journey and what defines me.
It also made me think of this journey in seeking justice. So many issues around the very word justice are polarizing. One person’s definition could be completely different from another’s. And it made me reflect that each of our stories have a defining moment of justice. No one responds to world events based solely on their news channel of choice. Though we may be influenced by those particular sources, our own stories and life experiences are really the lens that shades our response.
I grew up in a conservative military town. My family isn’t part of the military but I was surrounded by families and friends who were. I didn’t really think about gun ownership rights and privileges until I moved to France and was in discussion with those who had strong opposing opinions. When I trace my story, those experiences and conversations set me on a path to discovering my own opinions.
I’m thinking about looking at the issues that give me a strong reaction and mapping out my own journey with them. Why do I feel certain way about immigration rights and reform, about gun ownership rights and reform, about education rights and reform? Perhaps by really looking at my own story, I’ll better understand the stories of others.
My friend and fellow blogger, Andrew commented on my post about guns and I appreciate his point of view. (Check out his full, thoughtful comment here, but I wanted to leave you with this:
The problem facing our country is not gun control or an erosion of constitutional rights; it’s far deeper, and it’s called alienation.We’ve become a country so fragmented by the ability to please ourselves, without having to plug into a physical community, that we consider ourselves virtual citizens of the world…but how many times have you heard the term ‘civic pride’ used recently, except in mocking scorn?Just as alienation begets indifference, community begets responsibility and accountability. And that is what we need, now more than ever.
This post is Day 6 of the Write 31 Days Challenge. I’m spending the month of October writing about the Backyard Justice. You can find the entire series over at my Backyard Justice page.
11 thoughts on “Tracing My Own Story”
Reflecting on issues based on our own personal experiences is so important. I have reflected on that so much. I think that is why I feel we need to universal healthcare, more stream-lined process to immigrate into our country and become a citizen, and also changes to our gun control laws to protect our citizens from massacres like the ones in Vegas and Sandy Hook Elementary. The recognition that we all have equal voices in our democracy will unify and not divide.
My point of view has totally shifted on so many Big Issues when I stop and get to know others. As I work with immigrants and refugees, policies suddenly take on actual faces. I’m learning that I’m not as good at listening to the “other side,” and I need to give all equal opportunity to share stories…. Thanks for stopping by!
Great message today, friend. Sitting with your post and reflecting. So glad I stopped by, #fmf friend.
Thank you! Definitely still processing….
Yes! It’s so important to truly listen to others opinions and where they are coming from.
I keep coming back to this as the root. Stop and listen.
Annie, first, thank you so much for the callout.
One area in which my opinions changed drastically has been abortion. When I started writing ‘Emerald Isle’ (about the issues facing a terminally-ill pregnant lady), the story was going to be quite different…but when I looked at what abortion was really about, I was horrified.
Not out of a sentimental feeling about pictures of foetuses and mantras like “It’s a child, not a choice”, but because there is just so much that we don’t know about foetal consciousness and pain sensation. This is a case in which “oppos, we were wrong, a foetus CAN feel and process pain and fear” simply isn’t acceptable. We have to be sure.
In regard to the gun control issue, I believe we are limited by the Second Amendment as written, that keeping and bearing arms is an individual right. The ‘militia’ clause originates from the perceived need to raise and deploy a local or state militia raised from the populace. It’s not the national guard (such an institution was probably never considered at the time of the writing of the Bill of Rights, and would have been viewed as an offshoot of the armed forces). The implication is that individuals are to be expected to fight, and not hunt; ‘bearing arms’ for hunting is outside the strict purview of this Amendment.
But what is clear, by implication, is that the weapons themselves are expected to be those that are appropriate for combat. Saying that “well, we’re not going to be invaded” is an erroneous and facile argument; anyone living along the southern border can tell you of a de facto invasion by smugglers that makes it very dangerous to even exercise one’s own property rights (like, going for a walk on your land). In any case, the right guaranteed is not negotiable through legislation because the situation has changed. it would take a constitutional convention for that.
I won’t say that it’s right or wrong, though I personally prefer to be well-armed. It’s just the law of our land, and if we choose to let lawmakers erode it because of political expediency or heartfelt horror at events, we’re opening the door for other revisionistic attacks on rights we might prefer to keep…like freedom to criticize the government when it’s being stupid, or the freedom from having your door kicked in at midnight because the Feds don’t like your last name, religion, or the colour of your skin.
Argh…paragraph 3 should have an ‘oops’, not oppos.
I think the openness to changing our minds is so important. When people are proud about never shifting on a topic, I always wonder how much they’ve been open to learning…. Life experience certainly makes me rethink, over and over again.
Hmmmm, a lot here to challenge the thinking. Challenge meaning to think, reflect, and even trace. The good kind of challenge that can also be scary when contemplating things that are so polarizing. I like the idea of tracing our story as it relates to specific thoughts of belief. Andrew zeroed in on something I hadn’t identified so clearly. Thanks for sharing his words too.
Right? When I react strongly to something, I need to remember to step back and see why. It helps me understand a bit more…