A time of life when I was bold in the pursuit of knowledge, never fearing to follow truth and reason to whatever results they led. ~Thomas Jefferson

I don’t like heated rhetoric–I prefer measured discussion, although I’ll admit I occasionally get heated–saying “I don’t give a damn” about something isn’t as measured as I should be (not to mention it would appall my dear parents). When I read various blogs, there are plenty of threads where commenters resort to name-calling, which I detest---it is a sign of weakness, of either intellect or discipline. I generally check out of conversing with anyone who starts getting shrill---I’d hope they do the same with me, and I’d hope they’d tell me so.

However, if a person states a view he believes is justifiable, I must be willing to examine it even if it makes me uncomfortable. We can debate only if we can first bring these ideas up, and if we allow fear of what others think to prevent that, then we risk never dealing with important issues honestly. Two quotes come to mind:

1. “He who dares not offend cannot be honest.”–Thomas Paine

2. “We are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.”–Thomas Jefferson

So, although there are people on the right that I would prefer to respect me--and that includes a number of people I have never met but have conversed with online--I can’t ever allow myself to be dishonest or silenced, because I believe pursuing and stating the truth matters more than anything else. If someone believes my honestly held views are radical, I’m willing to accept that as part of living my duty to my country.

~Shyla Lefever