I am a pro-choice, moderately left-learning American with little to no affiliation with any organized religion.
That's a pretty good place to start.
As such, there are probably a number of issues that Tim Tebow and I might disagree on, but I won't let that color my opinion of the Florida Gators' star quarterback.
You see, there are a lot of reasons for me not to like Tebow.
I'm told I shouldn't like him because he's a media tsunami who distracts us from coverage of other deserving athletes.
I'm told I shouldn't like him because he's a two-time national champion from a juggernaut of a program that I don't much care for.
I'm told I shouldn't like him because of his religious zeal and his public advertisement for something I personally have little use for.
I'm told I shouldn't like him because of the throngs of people who do like him, mostly for all the wrong reasons, because they feel he somehow advances their own agendas—be it on the field of play, spiritually or politically.
I'm told in this hostile political climate that people are either right or wrong. I'm told that folks are either patriots or traitors. I'm told that if they're for women, then they're against babies. I'm told that they're either socialists or capitalists, and I'm told that they're either with us or against us.
In short, I'm told a bunch of baloney.
These are the roots of fascism, not democracy, and it seems that both sides of the political arena are more and more intent on silencing the other—or at the very least, not listening to what they're saying.
And we wonder why nothing gets done in this country.
I'll also be honest and say that I don't think much of Tebow's future as an NFL quarterback—and it's not because I'm a hater, the ubiquitous retort of those who are blinded by their own loyalties.
His arm is average. His ball isn't very tight; his accuracy is suspect; his release is slow. His footwork is unpolished, and his mobility isn't nearly as desirable at the next level.
Although he's a "winner" and a "leader" and has all the "intangibles," he's relatively short on the "tangibles"—which, to a Detroit fan like me, makes him appear to be a bigger, stronger version of Joey Harrington.
So I don't predict big things from Tebow at the next level—although, Lord knows, I've been wrong before.
That doesn't mean that I wish him ill on the next level.
And if you're one of those out there that do, let me tell you something: You are a hater, and you're falling into those arguments I've posted above—which are based merely on superficialities.
And so we come to the increasing uproar about the Focus on Family organization and its use of Tebow as a spokesman for...what exactly?
Well, we're not really sure, but we know it has something to do with Tebow's mother and her decision not to abort him—and how, lo and behold, a Heisman Trophy winner resulted.
We know nothing about the language or the message other than that.
And if the point of that message is to tell young women that there are options other than abortion to consider in what is undoubtedly an emotional and difficult period of their lives, why do we really have a problem with this?
If anything, it's merely highlighting the choice that pro-choicers advocate and demonstrating that there is much to be gained by considering that choice more thoroughly.
Does anybody anywhere truly advocate casual abortions?
This is why I find the uproar surrounding this whole thing borderline absurd.
Women's groups want the commercial pulled.
Political groups want the commercial pulled.
Fans of football want it pulled so it doesn't somehow make them think during a game.
All this without even knowing what it says or considering that it could be as innocuous as a mother telling her story.
It reminds me of the uproar surrounding President Obama visiting elementary schools when he was just telling them to do their homework and stay the course.
Do people even listen to themselves anymore?
And at the center of all this we have Tebow, the guy that I'm told I'm not supposed to like—but I've got to admit a grudging respect for.
I like that he spends his spring break in the Philippines ministering to orphans instead of getting ridiculously hammered and banging floozies.
I like that he's unapologetic about his convictions but not hostile about them. It's not Tebow who's out there screaming "baby killer" and profanities, purple in the face and wet between the ears.
I also like that what amounts to his first professional endorsement is not for chips, or beer, or tennis shoes, or McDonald's, or Disneyland, but rather something he believes in.
I may not be an evangelical or a right-winger, nor do I feel the same as Tebow on a number of issues, but like him, I believe strongly in charity, reasonable debate, and the duty of every human being to stand up for what they feel is right.
I know I said Tebow will not make it at the next level, and that may be true as a football player. But in the next level of life, he'll be a brilliant success.
History has always favored the bold, and Tebow has shown that his heart is in the right place.
And so I'll be bold myself and listen to Tebow with my mind open on Super Bowl Sunday, even though I might not fully agree with what he says.
I will reserve the right to make up my own mind and will not have that right decided for me by the anti-Tebows, the anti-Obamas, or the other shrill, unthinking, loudmouths of the world.
I'm pretty sure Tebow would listen to me if the time came, whether he agreed with me or not, and this essentially means we're more alike than appearances might indicate.
I am a pro-choice moderately left-learning American with little to no affiliation with any organized religion.
But that doesn't mean I'm not versed in the basics of respect. It doesn't mean that philosophical differences have to absolutely divide us, and it doesn't mean that I'm too old to sit down and honestly hear someone out.
Who knows? I just may learn something.
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