No One Likes to Look Stupid, But…

My friends and family have been asking me why I started Pacific Think Tees.  The easiest answer is that I like to talk, especially about things that affect our everyday lives and I think it’s sad that we’ve gotten away from that in this country.  I thought that by putting shirts together that were stylish enough for every day wear, and contained messages that were something that most of us could agree on, it might get the conversation going again. 

When I tell them this though, I usually get the same answer: “Well, I don’t pay attention to politics and I don’t want to look stupid by talking about things I know nothing about.”  Or, “I just don’t like talking about those things because people disagree and start arguing.  It’s just not polite.” 

What if your child came home and said, “I don’t want to do math anymore because I’m just not good at it.”?  If you’re like most parents, you’d respond with something like, “Well, too bad.  You need to learn math and you’re not giving up just because you don’t feel you’re good at it.”  Then you might ask them what you could do to help or get on the phone with someone who might be able to tutor them (have you seen high school math books?  Yikes!)

Well, unlike math, politics and social issues are not objective.  There are no right or wrong answers (arguably).  How do we know what we believe if we never talk about it?  Are you just going to take a news anchor’s word or a newspaper columnist’s opinion over your own values and common sense? 

Stop thinking that what happens at the White House doesn’t matter in your house because it does.  What if your children ask you one day, “Where were you when all of this was going on?”  Are you going to say that you were so engulfed in reality television that you ignored it all?

Painful as it is, I watch two rival cable news networks on a regular basis.  They each cover different stories and points of view that I would never hear if I confined myself to just one.  Sometimes, when I’m watching the “other” network, I want to yell at my screen.  But it’s important to do because when I hear both sides, I can form a more educated opinion.  When you only hear one point of view, there’s a word for it: we call it indoctrination and it isn’t a very good thing. 

Don’t be a sheep!  Get involved, talk, and find out what you believe to be true.  The truth has no agenda so you might find yourself liberal on one issue and conservative on another.  Or, if you’re anything like me, you’ll reside somewhere in the middle on many things.  Don’t get me wrong; I have very strong opinions about things I feel I know enough about.  But there are some issues that I honestly can’t tell you how I feel about them.  I do know that I never will find out what I believe unless I start the conversation or seek out both sides.  That’s really the only way we can truly find out what we believe.  Be civil.  But do not be afraid!  Remember Martin Luther King Jr.’s words: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

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