I am a Facebook junkie. I have friends that the only way to keep up with is through it. When I am home, it is almost always open in a tab. I am also open to enough views that I do not filter the people I know based on politics, faith, or if they’re LBGT or straight. I am getting tired of people, though. I’ll explain, it is now popular to vilify and demonize people that have, for lack of a better term, “beliefs” that disagree with our own. We no longer seek balance or conversation. We have become mentally lazy. Note the word “we”, I’m just as guilty no matter how hard I try.
To digress, the World is becoming less “nice”. To be honest, I’m two-faced. There is a Nice Miller and an A$$hole Miller. Both are true and both have their uses. Back to the digression. Because of the Web, we are more connected and more able to find views that confirm our own. *editorial, this is not an original thought* There’s even a term “confirmation bias”. Briefly, it means that we tend to believe that which agrees with our views and see falseness in that which does not.
Further digression, I was talking to Z and we both agree. I think I’ll just quote her directly. *editorial, this is a copy/paste from the conversation* “The world is not nice right now…It’s easier to look to blame than to reach out a hand or try to find what is similar and build from there. Most won’t take the chance instead allowing fear and distrust to rule… I think if I have to TRY to find something similar, we aren’t. Similarities are glaring. Out there. Visible. I DO fear a lot of things. Seeing what happened in Paris and Colorado recently, the people who don’t value human life scare me. Because THEY have no fear. They have nothing to fear…”
When we turn people into a label, we remove their humanity. As an example, if all you see of Z is “that dyke b**h”, you just removed her humanity. You don’t see what I see. You don’t see the first person I go to with my fears and prayers. You don’t see a mom that loves her kids. You don’t see someone that acknowledges both her weaknesses and her strengths. Z is not perfect but, she’s the very best at being herself that she is able to be. You don’t see someone that is uncompromisingly honest with herself and everyone else. You don’t see one of the rare few HUMANS that I trust. You also miss the person that is brave enough to have been the example I have used for two years of this blog and the partner and encourager since the start. All you see is a label. All you see is your bias.
We, again including me, label. We are quick to forget the underlying humanity of the person. Because we can not “walk a mile in their shoes”, we do not understand what shaped the views of the other person. We did not live their life and have their past. We might have shared some of their path but, not all. We only see what they project and a “sound bite” of their thoughts. We may think we do but, no one truly knows the inside of someone else’s head.
Back to the spot I started…well, maybe the middle…Today, we excuse dehumanizing those that disagree with us. Read the comments sections on any political site. It doesn’t matter if it’s liberal or conservative. At some point, some person will advocate violence against those that disagree. People of faith, some anyway, advocate death to people that are not of the same faith. People that will admit the existence of a kind and loving God are willing to say that “all (fill in the blank) must die”. In parts of the world that are not the USA, it is a capital crime for Z to be Z. In the USA people are willing to advocate, and act on, a belief that people need to be non-judicially killed for legal actions. Again, all as a result of not seeing humans as human.
How did we get here? How did the Sixties and “live and let live” turn into this? I am not a “hippie” in the classic sense. Nor am I advocating lawlessness. What I am trying to say is that we need to give as much “space” for others to live as we demand ourselves. If we set a standard for a person we disagree with, are we willing to have that strict, or open, a standard applied to ourselves? If we accuse someone of bias, do we admit our own? If the dogma of my faith is valid for me, does the same context apply to someone that does not share mine?
I’m not saying we have to agree. I don’t even agree with all of the things my wife thinks. What I am advocating is a return to reason. To the rational thought that disagreement can be civil. That dissenting opinions are not “treason”. That conversation designed to persuade is still possible.
I’m tired. Perhaps the solution is to quit paying attention to jerks? Maybe I should avoid the news and politics? It isn’t too much to ask that we be civil. It isn’t too far a stretch to expect adults to quit calling names like children. “He hit me first”, never worked when we were kids.
It isn’t that I feel picked on. This post isn’t about how I’m treated. You want to blame white, straight, Christian, middle-aged, Texan, males for the sins of the world, have at it. It doesn’t make me any difference what you think of me. Just, please, don’t blame everyone else. Don’t blame Z. Perhaps, though, before you blame someone else, you should look in the mirror and see what part that person gets, too. Not one of us are innocent. Once we start with our own imperfection, then we begin to see reason.
*Apologies for the awkward ending*