Charlie Teljeur: What’s in a name?
|By Charlie Teljeur - Contributing Writer | August 31, 2017
A gentleman came up to me the other day at an event I was attending, first asking me if I was the person who writes a column for The Highlander and then, after I confirmed his suspicion, proceeded to tell me that I have “some pretty liberal ideas.” If nothing else, this proves that at least one person reads the column. Furthermore, it proves that at least one reader (evidently) doesn’t agree with my stance on a lot of things. All in all, that’s a good thing, that he expressed his apparent disdain for a lot of what I have to say.
Because of timing, he and I never got into any sort of discourse over specifics of my columns but at the very least I appreciate that he made his views known. That’s how discussions start.
For the record, I think people are way too quick to label themselves and each other in today’s world. Seems everyone has to fly a banner of some sort, proclaiming to the world exactly where they (apparently) stand on most issues. Inherently, I think this is wrong. I think for the most part we’re way too quick to defend our position as if we hold some sacred ground, as if we’re defined by some broad definition. People in the world today are much more nuanced in their views than even they would likely admit. I mean, what is a liberal anyway and what is a conservative? Broadly explained, I’m evidently very willing to seek change and by definition the man who approached me at that event wants things to mainly stay the same.
These are very simplistic notions, forced upon us by a world that rarely looks for nuance and one that rarely dives deep into meaningful discussion about anything. Look around at how we all seem to be divided into camps based on any number of criteria. More so, look at how our neighbours to the south are being torn apart by these very same camps. Seems everyone has to fly one flag of some sort. Evidently, nobody can be in more than one camp at one time and, this my friends, is why we face so much strife and disagreement in today’s world. We’re voluntarily polarizing ourselves and yet we wonder why people don’t seem to be able to get along.
Way back when, this was how we defined ourselves. Lines were drawn by nationalities, ethnicities, religions and whatever other definitions we wanted to throw into the pool. But gradually – and thankfully – we all began to realize that maybe we have more similarities than differences. This is not a liberal notion. This is a simple observation. Is giving a damn about your fellow human being the dominion of being a liberal or a conservative? I don’t think so. I think it’s just about being human. Only now caring about another human being isn’t automatically based on a language or a skin colour or the flag you fly. This isn’t a utopian dream, this is just modern reality. The lines are blurring, thankfully. We should all rejoice in this. Aren’t similarities preferred over differences?
The simple notion I’m trying to convey here is that all ideas, any ideas, shouldn’t be weighed on the atomic weight of their liberalism or conservatism but on their pure validity. Does it make sense? Is it a good idea? We could all do well to worry a lot more about the story and a lot less about the author.
Charlie Teljeur is a contributing writer for The Highlander.