I spent the day at the golf course yesterday with a friend that I had not seen in 20 years. Immediately, trying to foster common ground and justification for spending the $79.00 for green fees at a less that notable golf course we hurriedly began to recount the past. Stories were told. Friends in common from long ago were mocked and others revered equally. We spoke of Boy Scouts, camping trips, high school sports, over-bearing mothers, and girls we purported to have known in a biblical sense, (most with a chest thumping arrogance neither of us actually believed.)
What bore reflection after logging a less than impressive 86 from the tips of a municipal golf course was the recognition that twenty years after I had left the two square miles in which I had spent sixteen years prior to high school graduation was that I still believed with religious fervor the same things I hadn't thought or thought to scrutinize in over 20 years.
Such is dogma of every form.
The Question requires so much energy. Why do I think what I think?
After years of listening to a Mother who dearly wanted her son and his six siblings to embrace life's experience within the context of the next's reward I realized that her Jedi mind trick, with a wave of her hand (or sometimes a leather belt) in front of our transfixed faces, had worked!
I fear God. (even though I don't conciously believe in him, or her, or so I tell myself). This is not a result of years of self introspection, historical evaluation, nor humble supplication. This is the result of a tireless parent who in rote form, daily reminded me that Hell was bad, Heaven to be desired, and that my sight was sure to be lost if I masturbated. (the latter proven over and over to be false).
I follow politics with an fervor akin to my contemporaries tracking fantasy football statistics and World Poker outcomes. The most compelling aspect of this years political cycle to me is that every candidate and many possible VP selections are demographically alienable. Many of the key players have had the unfortunate affiliation with decisions handed down from the highest courts in the land defining reasoning for equal treatment and their forced inclusion within society. The Woman, The 19th Amendment to the Constitution took effect on August 26, 1920, The Black Man, Brown v. Brown May 17, 1954, The Elderly, The Title III Older Americans Act (established in 1965), and of course the Mormon (a front runner for the Republican VP slot).
Here come the 2008 elections.
Less than a month ago I took a phone call during my dinner of frozen pizza and spiced black beans. I was asked, in a circumscribed fashion, would I vote for a black president. Emphatically, I said "yes". I was then asked if He (or She, so cryptically I couldn't discern the difference) had a female running mate would I vote for the combined ticket. I responded " If the politics matched my own I would have no problem". These are not unlike the responses that are repeated all across America daily. Barack Obama seems to have had a comfortable 2-6 point lead against his AARP qualified opponent every day for the last 45 of national tracking.
Yet, there is a difference. Everyone cares about projecting political correctness during a survey. We love to speak passionately about saving the evironment and are glad our personal diatriabes of social responsibility are heard on a recorded line of a telemarketing firm 1500 miles away and not when we are filling up our Hummers at the gas station at 7 miles per gallon. We are all shamed by the injustices of our fathers or governements into speaking what we want to believe. At our coctail parties we compare a man of ideas, hope, and color to a Catholic long since taken from the national, political, and social fabric of America. We speak of dreams, hopes, and a return of American pride and prominence to the World's stage. Nevertheless, the labels of old, black, woman, religious zealot are nearly intractably rooted in our minds not to be let go and will hold our attention and reinforce our lifelong dogmas. Naked truth will reveal itself within the annonimity of a 4x4 foot voting booth all across America in November.
Distantly, the echoes of my Mother reminding me that I will go blind still ring in my ears each time I reach for the lotion and a moist towel. Yet, I continue to reach.....Do you?