In my original reaction to the comments made regarding my political ideas about America, I initially stated that those persons leaving anonymous comments should come forth and announce their names...however, after further thought about this, I've decided that anonymity in fact encourages debate. There is no need to include your name in a comment, as I believe now that this only invites criticism of the person, and not debate about the idea.
Since that post, several people have commented, and in fact have criticized the anonymous, not for their ideas, but instead for their perceived lack of intelligence. This is unfortunate, and I apologize to anyone who may have been offended. I may in fact have offended people myself.
Debate of any kind, especially political, is only worthwhile if all parties remain focused on the issues and not on the speaker. When the speaker is removed from the debate, the issue is the only thing left standing. The speaker becomes immune to criticism and is allowed to voice their opinion without fear of being ostracized by a not-so-friendly opposition.
I enjoy debate, sometimes solely for the purpose of argument. I find it entertaining and challenging to take an opposing viewpoint and create arguments in it's support, regardless of the political or social side I may be on. Obviously I remain on the liberal side of the political debate, yet I still find myself arguing in favor of conservatism when liberals become too far-fetched and too idealistic. I like to think of myself as a 'realistic liberal', one who strives for the ideal, yet acknowledges the realistic.
So please continue leaving comments and feedback and creating ideas from a different perspective, and remain anonymous. Too often both sides of any debate find solace in speaking amongst themselves, and never allow their ideas to be put under scrutiny by the opposing side. It's quite comfortable to talk about your own ideals with people who share them...but you only truly learn when you put your ideas at the mercy of the opposition. This is risky for many people, because if the idea fails under the scrutiny of opposition, the speaker often takes it as a failure of their being, and no longer participates in debate, for fear of losing a piece of themselves.
I do not want this to happen in a forum that I've created. Unintentionally, this blog has become political in the past week or so, when it was supposed to be about travel. However, I've enjoyed talking politics and putting my ideas on the line, and I have enjoyed hearing the comments that people have to say about them. So keep them coming, and remain anonymous, in the name of debate. I look forward to arguing against them! Until later.