Saturday, June 30, 2012

A New Adult Talks Politics

As I've mentioned (briefly, because the very thought makes me break down in tears), Addie graduated from high school a couple of weeks ago.  My beautiful, brilliant daughter is leaving for college at the end of this summer; she has a boyfriend these days; she shows me pretty much every day how grown up she is getting (although she's not eighteen until September, so I still have a little bit of leverage ;-)).

Addie has always been a very cool person, and I say that not just as her mother.  She is funny and smart and thoughtful (she is also stubborn and moody and refuses to get a job, but those come up far less often).

Anyway, we were just hanging out in the living room the other day, and the next thing I knew, we were talking about politics.  Like, legitimately.  I'm not even sure how it came up.

We've talked in this basic direction before, some of the things that are on the news.  Addie's contributions are usually question-laced (which is good) and connected to personal experiences (which is probably better).

*  Why aren't ___________ and _____________ (we know and love a lot of same-sex couples) allowed to get married?  That's just stupid.  They love each other and have been together for longer than a lot of people.  Why should selective reading from the Bible supersede the main lesson of love, that none of us are without sin, that it's up to God (if you believe in Him) to make the final call after you are dead?  ______________ and __________________ are good people that love everybody and give so much to society, while so many "married Christian couples" do horrible things all the time.  Also, it's a true statistic that many more heterosexuals than homosexuals cheat on their significant others and are pedophiles.  If God is going to let people into heaven based on their sex lives, I don't think I want to go there.

*  It's really ironic how politicians will go on and on about how wrong abortion is, yet when it comes time to foot the bill for these babies that nobody really wanted, they're perfectly okay with letting them live in poverty with no real shot at ever getting out.  Mothers who beat the crap out of kids they were guilt-tripped into having by some pro-life group that disappeared pretty quickly from the picture are not held accountable because budget cuts have taken the teeth out of the Division of Children, Youth, and Family.  There was a girl at school whose father was molesting her and, when they showed up to ask him about it, he said it was a lie and wouldn't let them into the house, and there was absolutely nothing they could do ... because it interfered with his "civil rights".  Crazy!

*  Why do some people still think that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11?  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that Hussein and Osama bin Laden hated each other based on the type of Muslim each was ... why are people too stupid to pick up a book?  And why did the government lie about the whole "weapons of mass destruction ... Iraq is an immediate threat" thing?  Was it really as simple as George W. Bush wanting to take out Saddam Hussein for his father?  There are other countries that pose far more of a threat to the USA than Iraq, so why?

*  And of course we've had multiple conversations about the desperate need for welfare reform.

The other day, she asked me my thoughts on immigration.

I was really honest with her (I do try to keep my opinions on things to a minimum as I'd rather she draw her own conclusions).  "Immigration," I said, "is a tough one."

I told her my basic concern, namely that it's a good thing for our family that immigration was an accepted practice a couple hundred years ago, because otherwise I'd probably be digging up potatoes in Ireland.  I mean, realistically speaking, there were Native Americans already here in the United States when what could be defined as "immigrants" first arrived.  Is it fair to say, "Whoa, okay, immigration was good for awhile, but now we're cutting it off.  Done."?

She started telling me about some of her friends from other countries (this was the adult part of the conversation) that have never understood immigration.  To them, it is completely wrong and strange and different to allow others any fair chance to assimilate into their culture and part of the world and so on.  "But that's not why people in America are against immigration," she noted.

It was very cool.  We talked about how part of our laissez-faire attitude about immigration and our lack of understanding about why people like Texas and Arizona are so fired up about it is likely because we live in the northeast, where it's definitely not the problem it is in other parts of the country.

We also agreed on kind of a cool immigration policy.  Basically, anyone should be able to enter the United States and be given five years to become a contributing member of society (or at least show progress in that direction).  Five years should be plenty of time to demonstrate that, and the knowledge of such a degree of regulation would give immigrants an incentive to work hard and follow American laws and so on.

We got laughing and said that clearly there has to be some pretty strong arguments against that policy because otherwise it would be in place.

Anyway, I try to keep politics out of this blog, but this really isn't intended to be about politics.  It is instead meant as a testament to how wonderful it is to have intelligent, evidence-based discourse on important issues of our time with my daughter who, not too long ago, was more concerned with whether her jeans should be from Hollister or Abercrombie.

My process when getting into discussions that could potentially become heated is to always listen to what others are saying.  Even if I completely disagree with them, listening to why they have a certain opinion is often quite a learning experience.

That Addie has joined those ranks, that she can make me think and learn and grow, just emphasizes her status as a new adult ... and that makes me incredibly happy and proud.

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