Judge on Actions, Not Opinions

I’m not one to voice political opinions too loudly, particularly on divisive topics. It’s not because I don’t have my own beliefs, but because I’m not interested in being judged and perhaps even losing friends based on, say, who I want to be president.

These days, because of the Internet, it’s easier than ever to know how someone else feels about certain political issues or topics in the news. Therefore, it’s easier than ever to judge them on those opinions.

When I hear what I perceive to be illogical and irresponsible opinions voiced by folks I otherwise respect and even like, I’m torn. How could someone so nice defend – or claim to understand – the acts of criminals, or perhaps even encourage irresponsible behavior? How can law-abiding friends of mine have greater problems with those who strive to rein in bad behavior or encourage self-sufficiency (good things, right?), than those who break the law or create problems for themselves? Why must these friends make excuses for, or demands that enable this behavior?

Then I take a step back and see how these friends of mine live their lives. Most often, it’s not consistent with their opinions. While they may even claim to have these views for righteous reasons – and could talk your ear off explaining why – they simply aren’t the people in which they claim to be fighting for. They’re not mooches, they’re not law-breakers, they’re not dregs of society.

The opinions they express or policies in which they fight for might, at the very best, be more forgiving of or helpful to some, but at the very worst (the part that disgusts me) be excusing or enabling of problematic behavior.

But they don’t live it, and that’s far more important.