Monday, March 31, 2008

Professional Thinkers

I try not to read, it only makes me think. It also makes me question my opinions and beliefs. No wonder Republicans are cutting funding for schools.

The latest text has been Porch Talk: Stories of Decency, Common Sense, and Other Endangered Species by Philip Gulley. The author is a Quaker minister and is on Indiana PBS. Despite Mr. Gulley having written several books, this is my first. The ministers at my church occasionally suggest books to read and somehow this Quaker's musings made the list.

One chapter relates the story of how when Gulley is asked his profession, rather than admit to being an author and then being faced with the response of "I've never heard of your book," Gulley simply responds that he is a professional thinker. With his homespun, Midwestern story telling ability, the Quaker pastor hits one home:

Despite our need for professional thinkers, our country has lately been relying on amateur thinkers. They populate radio, television, and the Internet, spewing their invective in the name of wisdom and common sense. Though wearing the guise of the thinker, they care less about knowledge and more about propaganda, trading in the party line, the half-truth, the telling wink. They speak with forked tongues and crossed fingers, ask God to bless their efforts, wrap the flag about their shoulders, and then strangle the freedoms they claim to love.

There ought to be a law that all thinkers, professional and otherwise, must foreswear all allegiances, resign from all factions and parties, and abandon all preconceptions before undertaking their work. Except for me, of course, who alone of all the professional thinkers is able to remain above the coarse partisanship of human exchange

How quickly I can read this passage, yet jump to criticize the religious right or even praise Obama. The passage from Matthew suggesting that I worry about the speck in my neighbor's eye when there is a 2X4 stuck in my own surely comes to mine.


Phil Cardarella said...

Fortunately, Boo-man, you have surrounded yourself with intelligent, objective and reasoned persons, unswayed by emotion -- like me to seek out and correct your few errors!

Seriously, though, we do have to control ourselves sometimes -- even though that is no fun. The upcoming election will be tough enough without that. (Look at A2 of the Star on McCain's "hundred year war" non-statement, and the way our team has chosen to twist it. Fact is, he's bad enough on stuff without making it up.)

Anonymous said...

Did you see this article on Koster?

Koster Returns to GOP Fold
One-time Republican turns one-time Democrat, enters governor’s race as write-in

By April Berner
Associated Press

Jefferson City, Mo. – State Sen. Chris Koster once again shocked Missouri’s political establishment by announcing he is returning to the Republican Party and will enter the race for governor as a write-in candidate.

“Friends, the past few months have been a difficult journey for me, but I stand before you today as a proud Republican,” Koster said to a gathering of supporters and reporters outside the State Capitol. “After wandering in the desert for most of the last year, I am returning home and asking Republican voters for forgiveness.”

Koster, who became a Democrat just nine months ago and after serving as a top Republican leader in the state Senate, has now brought his political affiliation full circle. But it remains unclear if Republicans will welcome home him anymore than Democrats did, especially as their candidate for Governor.

“As I surveyed the political landscape, it become obvious that I have more experience than any other candidate in the race, as well as a unique vantage having been both a Republican and a Democrat,” Koster said. “I plan to take that experience with me as Missouri’s next governor. It may not be clear what I stand for, but in the end, my willingness to sway with the political breeze will always serve me best.”

Koster said it became obvious to him in recent months that Democratic voters weren’t willing to forgive his past votes on divisive issues like Republican Governor Matt Blunt’s cuts to Medicaid and to require voter identification.

“While I absolutely stand by my votes on those issues, I was surprised that Democratic voters weren’t more flexible in their positions on their bedrock issues,” Koster said. “So, I have concluded that leaving the Democratic Party is the best way for me to carry forward my broader vision for this state and our future.”

Koster also pointed to Senator John McCain’s sudden rise in the polls as a reason for his return to the party. He said that while he believes McCain may carry Missouri, he will continue to monitor the presidential race and the political current in Missouri.

“Returning to the Democratic Party probably isn’t in the cards,” Koster said, “but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of running as an independent instead.” Koster also said he has made inquiries with representatives of both the Green and Libertarian Parties.