You know, life is funny.
At no point in my life have I shied from admitting my nearly-extreme leftist views. Given the choice, I think humans would rather help someone downtrodden than pick up a new sweater. I think, if given the choice, humans are decent and good and wonderful. I think as Americans it is our blessing and authority to ensure that everyone living here gets adequate health care, sufficient food and water, and adequate housing. At the same time, I'm quite open to the possibility that my opinions just might be extreme. That means, of course, that compromise is acceptable. I'm willing to say to the majority, "Yes, perhaps the redistribution of wealth won't work for America. But that doesn't mean universal health care is the same." I'm willing to admit that I am not in the majority with my extremist views. Because I'm not a zealot, I know 'extreme' does not mean 'majority.' Because if they were the mainstream views... well, they'd not be extremist.
In any event, I spent the evening last night speaking with a Libertarian. We agreed on a few things. They say the further you go to the right of "moderate," the closer you get to the far left. And there's a good deal of truth to that. But the reason the two sides are on, well, two sides is because of fundamental differences, on which we will never agree. Maybe I'm just in the closet about my fears.
As I said, I believe in the goodness of humans, an eagerness to help those in need. A responsibility held by the government of America and given to the people over whom she is governing. We're a Republic. We elect people to go represent us in Washington D.C., because we don't want to have to bother with doing it ourselves, not because we don't care. We seem to simply prefer representation, a collection of older-brother-figures to whom we can look when times seem bleak or exciting. But this Libertarian friend of mine didn't see it that way. And in the heat of a cold evening with a hot cup of coffee and a cold nose, there was a brief moment when I could understand why.
I don't really claim to be a student of humanity. I sit in my coffee shops, nose stuck in a book, glasses pressed into the bridge of my nose, ignoring those around me. I sometimes feel as though I'm not a man of the people because I feel as though the people don't really want me around. That's probably just a psychological lilt I have, and it's likely untrue. I'm charming, witty, and funny--people probably really enjoy me around, until I exhaust them.
But politics isn't really about convincing people to accept your side of the argument anymore. It's been a long time since that was the case, when debate was actually something that was used to convey a message that was not generally agreed with. Debate seems to have been watered down into a recitation of ideas spouted from the mouths of ideologues. Where's the part where the people you're hoping to represent are involved with the process beyond pushing a button in a voting booth? Where's the part where I come in?
Very little may come from this experience, of dealing with a political opponent, swaying either side to the other, eager to convey a message of, "Hey, this just might be the way things should be," but I am hopeful it's affected me in some way. This may not appear to be anything all that important to the folks here at E2, but I think I've come to a decision:
I'm going to run for public office in Colorado within the next 8 years. And I will win.
It may not be the biggest office available... but, heck, in 2006, Bill Owens, governor of Colorado, will be term-limited. Maybe that'll be my chance. Maybe not. But I think I have something to offer. It's funny that a right-wing libertarian is the one who convinced this left-wing socialist to apply to the world of politics.