Because I once again got windy, I decided to post my thorough response to Tom's line of comments here. Believe it or not, this all started with a discussion on the Farm Bill!
Tom says, "We begin by assuming that the intentions of others are at least as good if not better than our own." He then goes on to give his reasons for believing such (I'd recommend reading his entire posting with comments). Below is my continuation of the discussion.
Tom, then you are a better person than I or you have had seriously different experiences than I.
I have a lot of government baggage, having been maimed in government systems as a citizen, particularly the student loan/private system and some in health care. Other things I just can't get into here or anywhere else, but they are still somewhat open wounds that have yet to be healed. I keep hoping for scabs that won't fall off too soon. So I hold a certain rage for the "little guy," people who get beaten up in systems and elsewhere in life because I am one of them.
I have lost faith in good intentions because I went into these places and situations expecting people to have good intentions and they didn't. I got hurt very badly on serious levels, and until these issues are resolved one way or another, I don't know how I can get past that anger I feel whenever someone gets bashed for little reason other than no one has looked at other possible solutions or they have ignored the problem all together. I now go into situations assuming people have neutral intentions and I wait for them to prove those intentions one way or another.
When my issues are resolved to the point where they no longer affect my life, I can walk away from them. But for now, they impact my every day. I don't know if you can understand that or not, but it's my reality and has been for years now. I keep these issues away from my children, but they do affect my family financially and me emotionally. I pray and hope these issues will resolve themselves some time so I can move on.
My desire is to serve so I can prevent others from going through similar situations. More than anything, I understand struggle at various levels, and I don't think any amount of suffering should go wasted...like Job. And there are certainly people who have suffered far more than I have in life. I have a great family. I have the ability to enjoy things. Because of these, I have never given up hope or my capacity to laugh. But I do not trust as easily as I once did. At some level, I've abandoned that naiveté you refer to. Some people ARE out to hurt others.
As you pointed out, I have to assume people are logical until they prove otherwise. Unfortunately, I've met my share of illogical people who CHOOSE to be illogical. I don't know why they do this when they have the intelligence and emotional capacity NOT to do this. I can't read their minds or hearts, but I know their actions make me angry. I want to use my anger to prevent more serious injury. These are my motivations, and these are my reasons for having a short fuse when it comes to rights of human beings, rights that get trodden upon all the time.
We all have the right to live our lives in peace, to work to sustain our families, and to be free from harassment, hatred, and violence. I believe this and will do whatever I can to sustain it.
I hope you understand. It's not a matter of forgiving. It's a matter of daily coping, fighting systems that are broken down, systems that are hurting people in the process.