Progressive values

I spent last weekend unusually detached from what’s going on in the world. And when I clued back in on Sunday evening, the re-entry was rather painful. Not that I expected anything different.

I spent the weekend mowing the yard, feeding the fish, cleaning the filter in the pond where the fish live. I grilled some fish (not the ones in the pond) marinated in teriyaki sauce.

I learned that I could actually connect my non-iPhone to my iPad and dump the photos off the phone. I learned that I could download all three seasons of Cities of the Underworld from iTunes, and that it’s a lot faster to do that on the iMac than the iPad. iPlayed.

I fell asleep on the sofa while reading and woke up with the formerly feral scaredy cat sleeping on me. First time ever.

I did some coding, or writing poetry, as I sometimes call it. I plotted out my next electrical project and then decided to finish the patio first, before it gets any hotter.

I fretted over two very large dead tree branches and watered the hanging plant by the white roses that are trying to take over the world. I watched “Crazy Heart.” It was OK. The music was good. Jeff Bridges sings much better than Colin Farrell.

I fretted over the tree branches some more and decided that I could take one of them down myself but that I needed to call my tree guy for the other one. I dumped a bunch of graphite into one of the padlocks on my shed because it had gotten stuck.

And I sat out by the pond, listenin’ to the waterfall, and got some posts ready for this week. That’s when I started checking back in.

That may all be a bit TMI for y’all, I don’t know. I rarely get very personal here, at least as far as my actual life is concerned. But somewhere in the slipping gently back into the World As We Know It, I got to thinkin’ about values, things we value, things I value. iValue.

The conservatives are alla time talking about values, as if we libruls and progressives have none. I dunno, maybe it was hearing more bullshit from Pat Buchanan, who has decided to drop all pretense of being a decent human being and let his inner bigot hang out for the world to see. Too bad the rest of the conservatives won’t do the same. Instead they lie, giving my colleagues cover to pretend they’re something they’re not, while at the same time giving cover to fellow conservatives who aren’t racist, gay-hating, Christianist assholes to continue to walk in the same circles as the ones who are but won’t admit it.

But, dammit, we/I do have values. Good, strong, progressive values that aren’t based on money.

We value education and believe that our democracy is strongest when its people have access to solid, non-biased learning.

We value peace, not that secured at gunpoint, but that mutually uncovered because we also value the lives, thoughts and ideas of others.

We value equality, not arrogance or the false belief that anyone of us is better than any other of us for any reason.

We value sympathy and empathy. We value truth and honor. We value trust and hard work.

We value every breath we take and every living thing on the planet.

We value the planet that is our home.

We value time. Time for reading, playing, watching movies, singing, laughing, crying, taking walks. We value the friends and family we share those things with, or don’t.

We value the friends we have yet to meet.

We also value freedom. Freedom to worship, or not, as we please and to not have someone else’s brand of worship interfere with our daily lives. The freedom to work or live where we want and not have someone else’s bigotry tell us we can’t. The freedom to have the health care and medicine we need without someone else’s selfishness preventing it. The freedom to speak our minds without worrying we’ll be jailed for it.

We value having a government that can protect us from those who have a more restrictive idea of what freedom is. Can, but doesn’t always do since those with a more restrictive idea of freedom often practice interfering with the lives of people their bigotry and selfishness tell them are less deserving.

I could probably go on and on with things we value. Kindness, understanding, cooperation, collaboration, sharing. Things we teach our children about but then encourage them to forget when they become adults. Clean air, clean water. Songbirds. A kitten’s purr.

Nuance. We value nuance, shades of gray, because we know full well that nothing, other than the colors themselves, are simply black and white, and even the colors aren’t quite that — one being the absence of color and the other being all colors. Hell, all the other colors are just colorful shades of gray.

Ah, but what we don’t value, aside from the aforementioned interference, bigotry and selfishness. Greed, Wall Street. We don’t value greed. Lying, pretty much every politician who’s ever opened his or her mouth (knowing that, and still we fall for the bull every time). Hate. Not anger — we actually do value anger, although not the hateful avenues some choose to express it. War. There is never a value in war.

Cheating, manipulation. The free only for the rich free market. We’d probably value that much more it it really were free, but it’s not. With every ounce of its being, the free market and its all or nothing adherents fight against everything that would make it truly free — for the people. But then, that’s never been what they mean when they say free. Or freedom.

History — the real one, not the one Glenn Beck et al have made up out of whole cloth.

Above all, I guess, we value people. But the people can’t hold their value when the values of our leaders are antithetical to our lives.

Somewhere along this country’s road of discovery, some among us forgot that “We, the People” actually means “We, the People” and not “We, the lobbyists and corporations and the innocent Americans we’ve duped into believing that if we get richer, they will too.” It’s never happened that way, and it never will.

But this is the battle we’re now locked into. The battle of values, pitting a group of people who value freedom against another that really does, a group that values family against a group that really does.

I wish it weren’t this way, that this insane dualism didn’t have to be. But in order for it to die, I suppose, we must experience it to the fullest.

Only then will we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we humans aren’t meant to be one or the other and can never trod this path again.

Because, you know, we value our Selves too much.