(Apologies for the lack of linked links...I haven't figured out the ipod app and typed this all with my thumb!)
Reading my blogroll at our 5:45am feeding (8 straight hours of sleep!!!), I latched on to this phrase from a blog post: "Lack the courage of their convictions." (http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/ten-miles-square/2012/08/whats_all_the_fuss_about_todd039350.php#)
I half-wonder if we even know what that means anymore.
Honesty with others has already fallen by the wayside, but it is downright depressing to see how many people seem to have sidestepped the rough waters of even being honest with themselves. We are all hot air, all popularity contests, all disingenuity and spin. Do we even know how to regain authenticity and honesty? Especially when one's beliefs get sent through the wringer of truth and plausibility and compassion?*
Convictions are things you believe, things you've thought carefully about and are convinced of to the core of your being. They aren't half-baked party lines you pick up at the discount store and discard when no longer expedient.
Courage, in this sense, means taking those beliefs out to their logical extensions and still holding on to your convictions.
If their beliefs are unpopular, courageous people don't backpedal and qualify their beliefs to make them appear more palatable.
If their beliefs create monstrous scenarios, however, courageous people might doubt them, question and seek to prove their convictions true or false.
When faced with the fact that they've been believing a lie, courageous people own up to it, straighten their spines and try not to be so gullible or willfully ignorant in the future.
If their convictions are hard on others and offer unpleasant realities, it is the conviction-holder's duty to acknowledge it and not attempt to diminish the other person to make the conviction more attractive.
There aren't a lot of courageous people being trotted out for interviews lately, though it seems American talking heads and politicians have no shortage of convictions...
*It is fine with me if you disagree about the when of life beginning. But then you must take your beliefs to their logical conclusions. And there can be no exceptions for the people you believe worthy of your compassion. This whole "legitimate rape" fiasco is the result of beliefs being dragged out to their obvious ends...because apparently people get what they deserve...oh... just read the transcript for yourself. When you get to the relevant bit, the one that should stop you in your tracks and go "WRH? Did he just SAY that?" (also, he does know that pregnancies happen in an organ known as the uterus, which is not connected to the anus. So we're clear: sodomy might mess you up, but you can't get pregnant from it.)
Your beliefs about the sanctity of sperm-meeting-egg don't pass muster when you're willing to set them aside for certain people...and not others.
Either it is a principle worth defending regardless of whether the victim is your "virgin" daughter or a woman who has had more partners than you can fathom...or it isn't. End of story.