In political times like these, I become wary in social situations. It's not just that I'm more liberal than most of the people in this town; it's not as simple as that.
Most of the political conservatives I know are pretty comfortable financially. Perhaps they worked hard for it, perhaps they deserve it, but they don't seem too concerned about those who are less well off.
I can be pretty conservative at times, myself. I cringe when I think about all the crazy, expensive schemes that the looney left has come up with. I cringe even more when I remember how many of them I supported in my youth.
My problem with both ends of the political spectrum is that each side believes it has the answers. The truth about the human condition is that we don't have, and may never have, the answers, and that's what makes us human.
We get a few answers, from time to time. We find cures for some diseases, only to face others that come with old age and a changing environment. Our social problems seem intractable: there are always murderers, wife and child abusers, thieves and villains. We learn more about how the universe works but we still can't prove God exists.
It's the God problem that disturbs me the most. It reminds me of the UFO situation.
We get letters every week from people who say they saw or experienced something strange and want to know what it means. Are aliens here, have they been abducted, is the world a different place than they were brought up to believe it is?
In my last diary entry, I mentioned that abductees often put out street lights, we received letters saying, "I put out street lights, am I an abductee?" I wish I could give them an answer.
We also get letters from people who claim to know the answers. They know who's here, what planet they're from, what they're doing and why, and even what their names are. I have to admit I'm skeptical about this. If hundreds of thousands of people who have had life changing personal experiences have not been able to discover these things, then how does one guy know it all?
When it comes to the God question, I find the same situation. Most of us have had tragedies, as well as miracles, in our lives. We don't know if there's a God or, if there is one, if He or She cares about us. We fumble through life, growing wiser with the years, but still confused and uncertain.
Along the way we meet people who tell us they have the answers: they know who God is, what He's doing, what His plans are and who He likes and doesn't like. When I meet one of these folks, the same question comes to mind: how did he get all the answers?
Because if you stop and think about it, the whole of human science, culture and civilization has been created by that one unanswerable question. Artists filled with longing to know God have created paintings, churches, plays and books, all questing for the meaning of life. Medical scientists have tried to preserve health and searched for cures for disease, all so we can hang on to these bodies for as long as possible in case they're all we have. Perhaps human beings aren't meant to know the answers, perhaps not knowing is what has made us human.
What if the beings we call the Visitors have the answers we're seeking? Many people have noticed that they seem looser in their bodies than we are, that they can travel through walls and maybe even through time. Maybe they don't communicate with us directly and tell us the answer to the God question because if they did, we wouldn't be human anymore.
What does all of this have to do with politics? I sneaked out to a French movie last night in order to avoid the debates. I feel vaguely guilty about this, and when I ask myself why, I know the answer: it's because I can't stand to hear so many lies. Both candidates are lying because they're telling us they have the answers. "Just elect me, I know how to fix things."
And we know that isn't true. How I would love to hear a candidate say, just once, that he doesn't know the solution to the problems of drugs, guns, old age, health care and the environment, but he's going to listen carefully to advice from all sides, then try to make the best decisions he can.
I'd vote for that candidate in a heartbeat, because I'd know he was human.
NOTE: This Diary entry, previously published on our old site, will have any links removed.