Thoughts from a Recovering Ideologue

Following my post of yesterday, I learned that Senator Tom Cotton illustrated a point I made by declaring that he did not regret anything he had said in his letter to Iran. Well, f course not. Any ideologue cannot back down, cannot admit that he is “wrong” because to admit that any of his ideas are less than “Right” is to understand that his perspective on the world is limited. That is much related to something uncovered recently in his college newspaper editorials in which he declared, “Spare me the diversity seminars.”   “Diversity seminars” are of as much value to him as they are to ISIS. If the notion…and experience of diversity…sunk into his heart it would totally melt down. The house of cards that is his reality would come tumbling down.

Of course, I am talking from experience and am guilty of the “projection” that I speak of so often. For, just as an alcoholic in recovery announces that “once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic” and ideologue in recovery like myself has to make a similar announcement, “Once an ideologue, always an ideologue.” But with alcoholism and with ideologue-ism, “confessing the sin” is a step in the direction of addressing the underlying issue. As poet Conrad Aiken noted, “To name the abyss is to avoid it,” though in this case I would say “to begin to get some distance from it.”

Yes, ideas are still very important to me. And, furthermore, without ideas we could not function as human beings. But, seeing that ideas are not the “thing-in-itself” I am now less obnoxious than I used to be and can even handle the realization that some who stumble upon this palaver are briefly stunned before flashing a sign of the cross at the computer screen and running from the room screaming. And that is the right thing for them to do for I offer here only a finite perspective on the world and for those who respond with disapproval are doing the right thing…for them! And I will never want to kill them, or shame and humiliate them. Heck, I won’t even try to stop them from voting! Diversity is good! As the French say, “Vive le difference!”

But sharing this notion with Tom Cotton and his minions would be…borrowing rural Arkansas wisdom from my dear momma…”like pouring water on a duck’s back.” And for you “city folks,” the water just runs off a duck’s back without ever penetrating the surface and getting to the skin. So with his intransigence he is safe. And that allows him to feel really good about himself and makes him politically tenable with like-minded souls. But in his position, there are many more important issues on the table than his own safe, smug little worldview. And that is something we must all remember each day.




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