In New York City, I don't find too many people oppossing the idea that priests should get married. Its not too often that someone takes the other side and is willing to tell me that we shouldn't allow any combination of two human beings in love to get married either.
So, as someone who picks and chooses from both sides politically, I find myself arguing most often against liberals... just because that's who is around me. I'm quite sure that if I lived in a red state, I'd be on the other side of a lot of typically conservative arguments and get called a liberal. Instead, I appear more conservative than I really am.
What I am is against politics. I don't like the idea that all find into one side or the other. Plus, I don't understand how some of this stuff fits together anyway. What exactly is the reasoning behind feeling a certain way about capital punishment versus leaning a certain way on expanding social programs? So, how's it supposed to go again? Less welfare, more lethal injection, or did I get it wrong? If I'm anti-war, remind me again how I'm supposed to feel about the privitization of social security.
I ask a lot of these types of questions because I like to poke holes at things that don't make sense. I'm an analyst. I'm a cynic.
So when I get in a really good debate with someone, I love it. It makes me think. The tough part is that I think I come off as difficult or dismissive when in reality, I'm challenged and inspired. Its two in the morning now and I just got off the phone with someone who brings a truly unique perspective to the table and a sincere and respectable conviction to the table on what she believes. Instead of focusing on our differences, I left the call feeling lucky... lucky that I know such an intelligent and thoughtful person... someone tenacious enough to come back at me.
Debates make me think. They make me question. People don't do that enough when they encounter something different then themselves. They immediately try and change it or erase it rather than learn from it. I love learning from other people. Its an important part of my education and I need to be challenged to sure up my own beliefs.
The best part about the conversation, though, was that we could put it down at the end... that it wasn't personal and that we appreciated each other for our differences. That means a lot to me as well. I'm never going to have all the answers, but if I can get someone thinking differently about something, I've done my job. I also expect that someone will challence me enough to get me thinking differently, and I'll always credit them for that going forward. I just hope that tonight's debating partner felt as enriched as I did and not just tired and frustrated.