Zealous or Zealot? A-Z Blogging Challenge

    An interesting conundrum struck me yesterday as I contemplated the letter Z ahead of schedule in the Blogging Challenge.  You see, according to 1986 Webster's dictionary at my desk we have these two definitions:
  1. Zealous: full of, characterized by, or showing zeal; ardently devoted to purpose; enthusiastic.
  2. Zealot: a person who is zealous to an extreme or excessive degree, fanatic. 
      I'd like to think I'm ardently devoted to purpose and enthusiastic in several veins.  My wife and three sons. Helping others discover new knowledge and capabilities, then walk in them.  Self-sacrifice, leadership, and vision.  Life long learning, innovation and adaptability.  Helping develop teams, organizations and communities in ways that lift up the majority of the citizens instead of a select few.  Being open to hearing the Voice of God in my faith without condemning others (because that's not my job).  Facilitating constructive conflict in ways that help others reach agreement and actionable strategies in ways that they forget there were opposite sides of the table earlier in the discussion. Building hope that isn't empty, but causes movement and positive change.
     I suppose if you want to call me a zealot in any of those regards, with other passions those who know me would list, then let's clarify that definition slightly.   The extreme, excessive and fanatic in the Webster's definition has by implication a closed minded narrow worldview that leads to much of what's wrong with our governments, organizations, and communities.  You know the kind of stuff we hear politicians say with such fervor that even a fifth grader can say "well that's just complete bull!"
.   Most fanatics don't think we're that stupid.  They're not aware enough to care other people have feelings and valid opinions.  Besides, if you repeat it long enough, it becomes the truth.   Why spend time in honest discussion to reach a collaborative practical and visionary solution?
    Which is why trickle down economics requires bleach; and deregulation of Wall Street excesses that made billions for a few while 90% of the world lost life savings, should be encouraged.   Sure if the 50% of working Americans who make less than $40,000 a year would contribute their fair share of taxes as we've heard all primary season, we could pay off the U.S. Deficit by 3052, while giving Congress a raise this year. Tax rates?
     I'd rather make a donation to my church, United Way, Boys & Girls Clubs, and those struggling to find a way in the new economy.      How about health rates? Poverty rates?  Literacy rates?  Divorce rates? Crime rates?  Overall well-being rates? Now there's some things I can get excessive about solving.   Do you actually know how far behind we are in those categories from the rest of the developed world?  Well actually I think if you look up the statistics we are global leaders. 
    We have higher poverty, homeless, education drop out, illiteracy, divorce, crime, prisoner and murder rates than all the rest of the G20.   Isn't it great to be a leader!  In math, science and literacy education we're in the top 30 countries globally at least. Some day we'll crack the top 25 again.  We are number 1 globally in waste generated per person.  So we got that going for us.
     If only I could get passionate about something and find a purpose.  Anything that didn't harm disadvantaged populations.  Really.   Hope I don't have to give up my party membership card in the process though.

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