2005-08-25

I Speak for Me


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Right now you've got Christian Conservatives coming out of the woodwork to clarify, "Pat Robertson doesn't speak for me." At the same time, we have military moms traveling the country crying, "Cindy Sheehan doesn't speak for us!" Sadly, in our world of labels and boxes, such statements are needed.

Perhaps if more people spoke (and thought) for themself, public discourse would not have degenerated into the contentious, rhetorical quagmire that it has become. How ludicrous it is to think that simply because I voted for a candidate, or affiliate myself with a political party, or have certain planks in my world view that I can always be assumed to agree with others who hold some similar views! There aren't two human beings on this earth who agree on every single thing. Even more ridiculous is the thought that someone with whom I agree on certain things is speaking for me every time he or she opens their mouth.

There are situations in life where it is expedient for others to represent me within a narrow, well-defined scope. When it comes to assassinating South American Presidents however, I really haven't appointed anyone to speak out on my behalf.

Alas, we have only ourselves to blame. Externally, the media and others are all to quick to label and package people. It's easier that way. But personally, people seem just as willing to label and package themselves. Again, it's easier and more fun to join the movement of the week. Where were all these patriots and flags and what-not before 9/11? Where were all these military moms before the anti-War movement co-opted Sheehan?

The Sheehan case is especially illustrative. Now all the military moms who oppose her have their own group. But what happens when one of them says something stupid? Do we form a new group - the moms who are opposed to the moms who are opposed to Sheehan?

It's so easy to just follow, and it's fun to be part of an exciting cause. It takes a little more time and thought to find your own way, but it's kind of nice to stand on firm ground and not be swept to and fro by unimaginative idiots.

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