Seeing life through my own tattoos
If I were in politics, reporters would have a field day. “I see, Mr Sneed, that you support restricting payment for dental losses – so why is it that in 1975 you left three molars under your pillow and collected $1.50?”
They got me. I did used to believe in a tiny winged woman who paid me to lose teeth.
Here is a partial list of other things I’ve believed at some point:
- Santa Clause is real (When I was 9)
- I know everything about driving (16)
- I know everything about women (18)
- Might makes right (20)
- Homosexuals are going to hell (22)
- Anyone can get ahead if they try hard enough (24)
- Politicians are selfless (25)
- It matters what wine you drink with pork (28)
- America is a Plutocracy (40)
- I know nothing about women (42)
Some I still believe, and some are complete nonsense, but at the time I knew each to be true as the sun setting in the west. There’s a booming tattoo removal industry for a reason. When you’re 22, you’re sure that a snake-wrapped skull will always look good on your forearm. It won’t, but you don’t know that yet.
Our strongest opinions also were inked sometime in our youth, and we stick to them only because they stick to us. My belief in the destiny of gay people wasn’t one I chose – I learned it before I could think for myself. Just like I learned that Kennedy was killed by the mafia, and the government leaked Area 51’s location so that no one would think to look for Area 52 (which is still true – probably.)
In a time when Left is Left, Right is Right, and never the twain shall meet, I live right on the border. I believe I’ve finally reached a point where I’m not a zealot for anyone’s cause. I see merits to the views of the right, and I get where the left is coming from, too. But even when I can’t grasp why you think what you do, I know it isn’t because you’re always wrong – it’s because I filter what you’re saying through my own tattoos.
As I get older, I find I don’t want to associate with people who are fervent about politics – especially those rabid types who were born into a party and, by God, they’ll die in it. It makes me think they haven’t learned anything about life. And that’s a shame.
I see how one can become xenophobic, or homophobic, or Islamaphobic. I understand the fear of God and the freedom of atheism. I’ve felt crushed dreams and the desire to blame. I understand vegans and cattlemen, global warming and SUVs.
No one knows the right answer, so the best we can hope for are politicians who understand that the best decision they can make, the best policy they can promulgate, is one which is easy to correct when a better way is found. We should hope for a leader who is smarter today than he was yesterday, and one who’s willing to change his beliefs when new information is learned.
Anyone who wants to change my mind on a political issue would do well to create a rational, calm argument – and present it gently. Rabble rousers, fanatics and those who think my views will be reversed by force and volume are wasting their time.