I've said it before and I will say it again. If you don't want me to call you a racist or a bigot or a homophobic asshole then don't say or do racist, bigoted, homophobic things. That seems really simple right? But you would be surprised the push back I get when I say such things.
Yesterday I posted as my status: "Here's an idea... if we aren't supposed to speak ill of the dead how about you not be an asshole while you are alive?" Same vein of thinking. The first comment was from someone wanting to know who I was thinking of. Well..anyone who is still alive who doesn't want to be spoken ill of. He didn't believe me and wanted a specific person. Well, pick someone who is dead and you think was an asshole and use them if you need a specific person to be able to understand what I am saying. You wouldn't think don't be an asshole would get push back, seems simple to me, but okay.
Reading an article last week about the removal of the confederate statues in New Orleans and got a heaping dose of rationalizing for the thank god they lost cause. And in the midst of that was the story of one guy who was talking about one of his best friends being African American, but he wasn't like the rest, he was a really good guy. Ummm...what?
The "on this day posts" in my feed this week have had gay marriage and the Boy Scouts of America being issues in previous years. And I saw the remnants of a conversation with someone who has since been tossed off my list where they did they "not like other gay people" thing. You know, they loved their gay friend because they weren't like other gays. Hush. And oh yeah, go away.
I have friends who are Muslim. When attacks happen like the one in Manchester yesterday, and ISIS takes credit for it I always feel horribly for my Muslim friends. Because they deal with it on two levels. First off the level that all of us do. It's horrific. It's impossible to understand. It's heartbreaking. And then they get the bonus level of judgement from people who, though they want to point out that their Muslim friends aren't like this, believe that Muslims are awful and violent by nature. Or they get told they have to HAVE to speak out against these crimes as if they somehow have something to do with them. I don't have to apologize for every American's crime, or agnostic's crime, or white person's crime, or woman's crime or people in their 40's crime but my Muslim friends? They get demands put on them that they are somehow at least tangentially responsible for over a billion other people because they share the same faith.
It's a perspective thing I think. Instead of saying your Muslim friends aren't like those other guys, how about realizing those guys aren't like your Muslim friends? It's a subtle shift but it makes all the difference in the world.
I'm a left leaning independent. I have my reasons why I will never be a democrat and why I will never again be a republican. I boycott businesses that do things I don't agree with. I post my social and political beliefs quite freely. I don't go to protest marches because I don't like crowds, but I support my friends who do protest and I do support those who peacefully walk out of commencement speeches and I do believe that protests and boycotts can initiate change. I don't support Antifa. I don't support the people who riot. But guess what? It's not that I'm not like those guys, it's that those guys aren't like me, or the people like me.
The majority of people are good people. No matter, religion, color, sexual preference, country of origin, income level, pick your judgment. Most people are good people. Instead of saying you aren't like those other guys, say those other guys aren't like you. The aberration is the extremist. The norm is the majority.
It really shouldn't be this complicated.
But it looks like it is. It looks like the assholes are winning. I get that. I feel that. I see that reflected in the news, in the reporting, in the way people interact with each other. My temper is shorter than it used to be. My patience is thinner. My quick to judgment button seems always half way depressed. But I'm not like those other people, so I'm going to make more of an effort to change. What is the Ghandi quote? Be the change you want to see in the world. Close enough.
Don't let yourself succumb to being an asshole. Try to leave the world such that people don't speak ill of you, and if they did, nobody would believe them. Make sure you are one of the norm and not like those other guys.
Because they are assholes.