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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Words That Can Haunt Me, Part 9: Ideals

As someone who once imagined he had capital "I" ideals, it's uncomfortable admitting this word can now haunt me.

My ideals and my politics have always been closely connected. And my politics have not measurably shifted. So why does it seem as though my ideals have slipped? Are ideals inextricably linked to youth? Although people don't refer to me as a cynic or even a pragmatist (at least to my face), I was in my 20's the last time I recall being called an idealist. How well have you held onto your ideals?

On a bus trip to Washington protesting the Keystone pipeline, the event organizers circulated several petitions related to other environmental concerns. They also distributed form letters that would be sent to elected officials outlining additional issues. Aside from reading the petitions and form letters, all that was required of me, if I chose, was a signature and address. How easy it was to have ideals under these conditions.

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