Life as a Polarizing Individual-One Man’s Perspective

Posted by on January 30, 2014 in Blog | 2 comments

Life as a Polarizing Individual-One Man’s Perspective

The last month has proven to be one of the more polarizing in awhile.  I can think of cosmic reasons (Solstice) and real life ones (we moved in the middle of two rounds of flu, bronchitis, and finally, the zoo of having 4 animals, a 5 year old, and 7 month old.

Outside circumstances can have an effect on our “reaction” to situations. People, places, and things.

Since around 1996 (when I worked on then President Clinton’s and an Arkansas US Senate candidate campaign as a volunteer) my political views have been pretty stabilized. My step dad used to say I would “grow out of that phase.” It hit me last night, I’ve grown, not necessarily more Democratic (I’ve voted in 7 elections and it was one Republican, one Independent, and 5 Democrats) I am registered as an Independent and see myself truly as one, as shocking as that would seem.

My point is this; my views from a progressive stance have only gotten stronger. Gay rights, is something I am very passionate about. Until they are seen and treated equally as the heterosexual, I’ll keep toeing the line for them.

The explanation from the opponents of gay rights that I think of more as an excuse is that it is a biblical sin, “it’s unnatural” and that marriage is a holy union between a man and a woman based on biblical scripture.

Sinning to me is an act of doing something (a crime committed for example) not something we are born with, as my point with homosexuality.  Sin is a very subjective term used as a noun and verb.  The idea that the U.S is a Christian nation is true in the fact that it’s predominantly, but it was founded on religious “freedoms” So what is a sin to a Christian, varies to the sin, or an atheist’s moral compass, sins from the Quran for Muslims, etc.  For a free country, the US is surprisingly discriminating in its views and ways.

As for “unnatural,” we have seen proof that homosexuality exists within a variety of different species in nature – hence deeming the argument invalid.

The argument of “marriage is a holy union between a man and a woman” is also invalid – marriage originally had nothing to do with faith or the Bible. The records of marriages pre-dates recorded history, and has nothing to do with Christianity.

The Duck Dynasty debate- I did not approve or could not someone comparing something that is not a sin to me, to bestiality.  My god, can you imagine the “feelings” of gay people who saw their friends posting this man’s words over and over and over?  I’m not saying 90% of his message (Phil R) isn’t rock solid, but advocating him over someone like Jesus or the Dalai Lama who would not have that dirty aspect of off the cuff “and leads to things like bestiality” Really? Again, I’d toe that line for my gay friends and the community who needs straight people to stand firm with them.

Spanking- this may have been the one that tipped the scales of the emotions for people on the other side of the viewpoint, or it may have been healthcare.  I was spanked (on a few occasions), and while I’m not saying it affected me in any way (although there’s the chance it did) – it was a fear driven tactic used to correct behavior. I suspect my own mother if she could go back in time, would admit to trying things differently in many ways, just as I will with my kids. What got me in the thread about spanking on Facebook was that nobody on the other side seemed to share that perspective? The thing I find most shocking in that thread was the defense of their own parents actions, versus a possible new approach to seeing them not as bad people, but ways we can improve childhood development.  I can’t stress enough, that my hope with Neo and Gabi is they move past us, and by that, I mean keep looking at new ways of doing things, no stuck to a paradigm Sunniva and I created with the best of our intentions. I was spanked and turned out fine, but if I sat down with my mother today and visited I guarantee, or would nearly promise you she’d admit to looking at not just that, but many things she should have or could have done differently. That to me is how we get better. It helps me become a better parent, and allows the freedom to know I too can do better.  What this can achieve is the breaking of cycles, patterns, and conditions that can go on hundreds of years until courageous ones stand up finally and speak.

The greatest talks I’ve seen about American prison populations is helping to understand psychologically these are all wounded children. Almost every single man and women was neglected, abused, or worse.  The right wants to say, but I was too and I MADE IT! I’m actually proud you made it. I made it too! I beat something that I don’t’ anybody thought I would. A 12-year struggle that nearly killed me.  I don’t use that a reason to assume everyone can and should as I did. I want to help heal those that struggled like I did and find ways to detour situations like that.

My wife is from Norway and if you have an empathic chip, you could close your eyes and imagine living somewhere where since 1966 it was illegal. Let’s just for the sake of the blog flip it. Here in the US it was illegal to spank since 1966. Deemed abusive to the development of the child (psychologically) Then she moves in from Norway where they still use it regularly, everyone seems fine that came from homes where spanking was the norm and is shocked at this radical approach.  She may be sensitive to the US eyes saying, you guys still spank in schools? For 40 years it’s not even been legal?

Listen, my point is her views are passionate and for the sake of children. You don’t have to agree, of course you don’t have to agree, but some people are wired to feel like an advocate and when you come into a new country where something feels energetically “wrong” and you see the prescription medicine crisis, depression, anxiety (all these things tied to so many things we are doing wrong here) it’s hard for her to not tie some of it together. Would you agree that is natural logic?  I don’t think you are a bad parent if you spanked.  I was spanked and don’t have any ill feeling’s to my mother, but studying early childhood development in my degree program, learning statistics that were coming out each year, and trusting my heart I was against it starting with 3 years of work in a local daycare in the early 90’s.  Timeouts were used then, and I began looking even further into the future at how we can improve upon the mind and soul of the delicate child.  It was my career path at one point in school, destined to be a child psychologist, but life keeps switching things up, until one day, you come back into a dream that involves teaching and helping children in unique ways. I hope we all keep looking at research stats and have enough humility to see where I can improve a bit from my rearing, and then challenge my children to see past me, grow further, both spiritually and emotionally.  I want them to see life as a process, and one that can be constantly improved upon.  Within the systems of the human condition and most want to stay the same it seems. They will resist the concept of change for some reasons that I struggle with.

Animal rights.  We are part of a no kill movement that believes we can save most every animal in communities across the world.  The animal kingdom is as important as the human to us because of the ecological balance of this home we call earth.  We are not ANTI-HUNTING. We have friends who bow hunt and see the art of it, he shares stories of a tear each time and as the true Natives bows down in respect for each deer shot.  But they eat the meat. Strive to live off the land. That’s not sport like we have spoken against.  There is balance in anything I suppose, but our main vocal points in animal world is about whales, local euthanasia rates, and any species being taken down by greed or human consumption unnecessarily.

Healthcare- This thread is what led to a falling out with an old childhood friend.   It’s not the first time I’ve had falling’s out with friends or family. As I grow older, my views grow stronger. Usually we see right past the socio-economic stuff, and realize it’s the fun memories we should talk about. Laugh about.  But sometimes triggers emerge, or topics bring up something that might have been simmering for years.  Comments on that one were pretty balanced, I thought. I was sharing my thoughts about a walk with a friend Claire, a pet-sitting client for the last 7-8 months, who is finishing residency and wanting socialized medicine here.  I spoke about how that gave me hope. I think those that read my blog didn’t interpret that to mean, she herself saved my view of a failing humanity, it was a play on words I use weekly.  To clarify, it made me smile, that’s all.  I want access to all, because the ones often I’m debating against are not poor. I’m not saying they are trust fund babies, self-made successful people that just seem to focus on the bad side of entitlements, versus so many examples like me.  At least I hope if you are a friend or reader you see us as a shining example of hard work for the American Dream.

Sunniva had to leave behind two horses she loved dearly, a farm in a beautiful part of the world because we believed in the American Dream and was told that we could and would thrive. I knew Fayetteville would be a liberal oasis for a Norwegian and while it is in many ways, Facebook and my area of growing up has ideological differences so deep it’s sparked some heavy debates.  But…sigh..…In every case that I can think of, if a real life friend we grew closer on the other side.

Every item I own is gone from my past or childhood, due to a storage bill I could not pay as we hit the low point. I actually can’t think much about that or it tears me up.  My wife was on bed rest for what looked to be an early birth and a possible hospital birth we were not prepared for.  I wondered if 12 months of planning and working around a baby being born was too much.  We sold our second car that month, I mowed lawns 3 days a week from April to June to pay the food bills and basic utilities, and we vowed to give it another month.  With help from my mom from occasional Sam’s Club runs for food, finally getting SNAP approved to help with some assistance we made it. Barely.  We didn’t open a bill in May and then with the NWA –Startup Cup and momentum nothing has slowed down yet.  Also to state again, our SNAP reduced $300 per month based on RISING income.  My goal is to grow this company nationally, so if you think we plan on relying on government assistance long you are wrong, but it was needed to lift us up and away.  Or that dream would have been shifted to a job I didn’t like, a home life that likely would have suffered, and we may be another divorce stat. Who knows how life works, eh? We could die tomorrow and it’s something we think of often. Plan for the future, but live as if it could all be gone tomorrow. When the spirit transitions we leave stuff behind, just stuff.

We met the in and out point (with help from SNAP) around October, meaning no request to Sunniva’s dad for a few bucks to help make rent. I think so many saw this as not a greed thing for us, but a real dream about Solgave Animal Solutions leading to a spiritual and healing center where animals and humans are both involved can one day be a reality.  We have mentors and supporters who get us through tough days with pep talks and reality checks of how far we’ve come so fast.  I don’t claim to have a patent on tough days; I’m just sharing the only perspective I know.

So if being a progressive who is outspoken makes me polarizing. I am proud of that. Children’s rights, protecting forest, ecological impact, corporate greed, climate changes, gay rights, responsible gun ownership (we do not promote no weapons, and have never ever said that) I come from a family of avid hunters and one day would like to learn the art of bow hunting myself.

Again, if my feelings about something like examining spanking in 2014 makes me polarizing, I own it. If speaking out against an educational system that I think is outdated and archaic I’ll own it. If speaking out for access to healthcare for all makes me polarizing, I’ll own it.  If fighting the fight for animal rights makes me polarizing, I’m going to proudly stand and smile.  I own it.  I believe in it.

My opinion as a psychological/sociological academic mind is that there are brain wirings that allow us to see the world differently. Seeing solutions to problems differently.  But what unites us is our spirit and heart. Katrina, 9/11, and any tragedy like the Joplin, MO tornado shows you that people for abortion, against it, gay, straight, etc. don’t care…at those moments we realize what we are.

Humans. With huge hearts, that is wired to help each other. Tragic moments are unfortunately needed to remind us of this.

“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”

— Nelson Mandela

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  1. Great read, as a European in the USA I relate to this … yeah , people and their opinion of you is about them …

  2. I’m sorry you lost a childhood friend over your convictions. It does happen, unfortunately.

    I actually got to see President Obama speak in Joplin. I was part of an audience that was neither Christian nor Atheist, neither liberal or conservative, neither black nor white. We were Americans – some who had lost homes and family members and friends – and some who were from down the road and wanted to come and support our neighbors.

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