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Exchanging Shoes

November 4, 2020

I’m a white, middle-aged christian man. I live in a middle American state. I’m typical middle-class. I live in a two story house in the suburbs. I’ve been married to the same (wonderful) woman for the past 33 years. I have thirteen great children and (as of next month) ten beautiful grandchildren.

I’m average.

I’m not often the “offended” party in any sort of national scandal. There isn’t a group that needs to “defend” me. There’s not an anti-defamation league, or an NAACP, or even the AARP.

I’m also a Conservative Republican. Actually, for Utah, I’m considered almost moderate. But, nationally, I’m part of the GOP. Up until yesterday, the person with my party affiliation was in the Whitehouse as well as had control of the United States Senate. “We” were in control.

Except it’s hardly a “we.” I had disagreements with the man at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. I even have issues with the group of leaders in the Senate. So, it was challenging at times to discuss politics. Especially when I agreed with my party’s principles, but not necessarily with the leader’s actions.

We could be seeing a leadership change in the United States over the coming week. If so, I will no longer share the same political party with the president. I will be part of the minority party. So, now it’s my turn to rage against the administration, right?

In 1998 the Chicago Bulls NBA team travelled to Salt Lake City to play the Utah Jazz as part of the NBA championship series. Dennis Rodman played forward for the Bulls. He was asked what he thought of Utah? He replied,

There’s too many [censored] Mormons.

Mormon’s are not the most liked group of Christians. But, it’s been decades since we were attacked in any sort of public forum. (Back in the nineteenth century, there was a law in Missoury allowing Mormons to be shot on sight. Yeah, that’s crazy.) Anyway, here I was now part of the offended party.

It caused a crisis for the NBA. And they pressured Dennis Rodman to apologize. And who was he supposed to apologize for? Me. I got to be the offended person.

Did I want Rodman’s apology? Did I care if he said the words, “I’m sorry for what I said”?

I realized that it literally didn’t matter to me. I not only would not feel less offended if Rodman apologized, but I didn’t feel offended at all.

I thought about that today as I watched the election results and contemplated a change in political leadership. If the Oval Office has a new occupant in January will I take my turn to rage and protest the actions of the leader of the other party? After all, they did it to our guy, right? Fair is fair.

Like those years ago thinking about the babbling of a guy named “The Worm,” I realized I don’t have to be offended. I don’t have to be opposed and oppositional.

Many of my friends and I disagree about politics. But, we love to discuss it. Observers ask, “Why do you put yourself through this torture?”

“Easy,” I tell them, “These are my friends.”

Now that the baseketball shoe is on the other foot, I realize that I don’t have to think, act or believe a certain way, just because I’m part of the minority.

I don’t have to, and neither do you.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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