Left or Right?

During basic training in the military, we did a lot of marching shouting out jody calls to help us keep our cadence count as we were moving as a unit.  One of the chants was:  “Sound off 1-2, Sound off 3-4.  Sound off 1-2-3-4, 1-2 – 3-4.”  We also wanted to make certain that we were all marching on the same foot, so we would say: “To your left, your right, your left. To your left, your right, your left.  If you had a wife and 15 kids, you would have left; you would have left, you would have left, right now.”

I did my basic training in Biloxi, Mississippi, during the summer months.  We used to kid each other about holding a pebble in your right hand, so you would always remember which direction was right, just in case the heat fried your brain.  But it was interesting that we always wanted to know which side was right and not left.  Right was the important side, while left was just the other side.

As I got older, I found out that I was ambidextrous and could play tennis both right and left handed.  This came in handy when I had tennis elbow in my right arm, since I just simply switched hands.  My opponents said they didn’t even notice that I switched sides.  That either means that I was so bad right handed that they didn’t notice when I switched hands, or that they were paying me a nice compliment.

So, I grew up not really favoring the right or left side.  Even in politics, I always looked for the best candidate.  Before I could vote, I remember liking Adlai Stevenson, a Democrat, because I thought he was a very thoughtful politician.  Even then, I knew that he was an anomaly in politics.  I liked Ronald Reagan, a Republican, because he knew how to delegate and he accepted the blame for failures of his people.  After Papa Bush, I did not have any favorite presidents, either Republican or Democrat, but I liked what I read about President Truman, a Democrat.

As a moderate, I really prefer the middle, but as our society becomes more polarized, it has become increasingly difficult to remain in the center.  Both left and right wing extremists make you feel incompetent if you do not choose a side.

It is interesting that the Bible does take sides.  Jesus told his followers to fish out of the right side of the boat.  He also said that the goats, not entering heaven, would be on the left side, and the sheep, entering heaven, would be on the right.  Ecclesiastes 10:2 states, “A wise man’s heart is at his right hand, but a fool’s heart at his left.”

It is important to remember that Jesus preached temperance and moderation, but there are times when you have to choose a side.  And the Bible is telling you that the right, meaning correct, side is naturally right.  Jesus taught us to honor the poor and love your neighbor, which sounds very similar to left wing comments.

But there is a difference.  Jesus meant it, while socialist leaders do not.  The truth is that both left and right wing leaders are most interested in promoting their own interests.  It would be wonderful if Jesus were running for President.  I trust him and would vote for him.  However, there is no politician running for office, who even remotely resembles Jesus.  Politicians all have evil intent and motives.

So, when is the right side the right choice?  It is the extreme position that you must take when there is no more room in the middle.  When Jesus reached the end of his days on earth, he knocked over the money-changers table and took more extreme positions to make his points more effectively.  And not much is more extreme than being tortured and crucified.  All this was done to save mankind.  When all the bridges crossing the middle are destroyed, you must remain on the right and wait for the end of days, which will include torture and death at the hand of the left.