Lacey Smith

The gray area

In Uncategorized on June 2, 2011 at 12:00 pm

The controversy over my vote for president is still going on on my wall. I didn’t realize making that statement was going to cause so much debate.

In that conversation, one of the things that got brought up was two different views on the “color” of politics. One post implied that things were pretty black and white while the other stated that politics is all gray area.

I think they were both true to a degree. The risk we run when taking a hardline stance on either side is that we fail to see the aspects that are the one and the aspects that are the other.

There are a lot of things that are black and white, but not everything is. Your definition of constitutional is probably different from mine and I imagine that George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson all had slightly different ideas about it, too.

Additionally, a genuinely honest statesman can get elected with the best intentions and realize that, for whatever reason, he can’t fulfill his promises.

I think this is part of what happened when heavily anti-war Senator Obama got elected and became President Obama. He realized that some of the things he criticized Pres. Bush for were necessary, reasonable or justifiable when you know all the information.

We need to recognize that there is a gray area and be willing to work within it.

On the other hand, there definitely is black and white. 14 trillion dollars of debt is definitely black. Making sure our soldiers are cared for and well payed is white. Finding a way to reconcile those two may be gray.

There is right and wrong. It’s wrong to lie to the American people. It’s wrong to steal tax dollars. It’s wrong to cheat on your wife. All of those (unfortunately even the last) have some factor in politics.

It’s also wrong to violate the Constitution. For me, what’s safe is far narrower than what it is for a lot of people.

There ARE clear and defined limits though, if we take the time to read, study and understand. A lot of politicians violate those limits and that is evil. It really is that black and white.

One of the reasons politics gets so nasty is because we like to take sides, and the media encourages that. There’s your side and my side, the democrats and republicans, the liberals, conservatives and moderates, red states and blue states, those who believe things are black and white and those who think things are gray.

There is room for everyone and we come to the best solutions by evaluating all arguments rationally.

In American politics, there are things that are gray. A lot of the gray comes from differences of opinion. There are also things that are strictly black and white. The trick is knowing which is which and being willing to accept it.

  1. I bet you didn’t know I read your blog. =)

    I had to say something about this post, though. This is why we can be friends- the idea that certain things ARE black-and-white, but the way to balance those things is often a very murky gray. Your statement about Obama’s presidency resonates with me for the same reason. I think the presidency changes every person who obtains it, because the magnitude of the office is so great. The public will scream when the elected president changes focus once he actually takes office, but I think there is a lot more going on than we know, and that can change opinions. I have always felt odd criticizing politicians for “flip-flopping,” because it is so often necessary once new information is obtained to re-evaluate the proper course of action. Shouldn’t it be called “flexibility” and be a trait pursued, rather than scorned?

    • Thank you. I’m so glad the message of this post got through. I absolutely agree that we have to have room for flexibility in our politics. Rigid ideology is dangerous. Firm reliance on fixed principles is very different. We need to be able to recognize the difference. Flip-flopping on fixed principles is bad. “Flip-flopping” on a political stance may be a simple change in experience that leads to a different understanding which in turn leads to a different opinion. There has to be room for that.

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