liberal

Yeah, I Took Shots at EVERYONE…

Bits of thoughts…

I am NOT open-minded. In my world, people, as differentiated from “humanity” fall into 3 groups, people I like, people I dislike, and people that will be one or the other of the first two. Humanity is different, because of the people I like, I write about humans being treated with decency and compassion. I write FOR the people I like and love, to humans, about humanity and faith…

To the young lady parked next to me. Yeah, I saw the dyed pink hair and haircut shorter than mine. Yeah, I saw the rainbow flag on your rear deck. Yep, I looked to see what you looked like because I was curious. I “people watch”. Perhaps I’m reading more into the look you gave me in return but, you have no clue that I write a blog defending your right to live your life as you please so, perhaps instead of seeing a middle-aged guy driving a black Town Car, you might consider that not everyone that looks like me sees someone that looks like you as anything other than a fellow traveler on this rock, not the enemy…

I’m not sure that people really understand the word “conservative” *grins* I see a bunch of alleged “conservatives” wanting to get up in arms over the “bathroom issue”. They seem to think that “traditional conservative values” means that the Constitution was unclear when it used the word “citizens” and not “straight, white, male, Republican, Christian” in it. The Constitution uses that word several times for example here, “The citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states.” So if y’all all’s grasp of grammar is so poor as to misunderstand that one word, it comes as no surprise that bigger concepts like “equality” and “liberty” are beyond your grasp. Perhaps you should stick to simpler things like “fear” and “hate” as in this example, “Would y’all  misogynistic, homophobic, racist, semi-literate, cretins with delusions of grandeur please shut up?” *editorial, I am NOT a self-labeled Liberal. For most of my life, I have thought of myself as “conservative”. Now, that ideology has been hijacked by hate and fear so, I am of no political party and just look at the issues*…

While I’m at it… The nice thing about being me is that I have very few illusions about myself. I know my weaknesses and strengths. I know the bits of myself to be scared of and the places I trust. *there is a point to this* Guys that abuse women have no such confidence in themselves. All they have is weakness and the only way they are able to feel power is by making someone else less, sort of like those people in the last paragraph. The difference is that the people up there lash out at a group and the guys that abuse lash out at individuals. Either way, it is sadly pathetic when the only way you are able to feel any strength is to make someone else powerless…

And another thing…My Christianity doesn’t give me a lock on morality. When I first started using drugs, I owned and read a Bible and called myself Christian. If all it took was to claim a faith as the key, there would be no pedophile priests, spousal abusers in churches, or scammer t.v. evangelists. Just because you’re claiming “God Hates Fags” doesn’t make it so. If you actually read the words Jesus said, “love your neighbor as you love yourself” and claim that “God hates…” I suspect what you really mean is “I hate myself so, I’ll lash out at you…” Morality is a condition of your soul. It is entirely possible to be a transgender, Pagan, Lesbian and be moral. Just as it is possible to be a cishet, male, Christian and be a pedophile. It is the SOUL that matters, not the trappings around it…

Look, guys, we have to be realistic. We are not going to agree with everyone. We are not going to like everyone. There’s no way we’ll ever understand everyone but, we have to live together on this rock…at least to the day of our demise…so, it’s far easier on ourselves, and the rest of the world, if we spend less time hating and fearing what we don’t understand. There are a bunch of things to fear. I fear that a moment of weakness could bring relapse. I fear finding a scorpion in my shoe…I don’t have time to fear others because their lives are not inside my house or my head.

Predatory people happen. They are criminals. If I spend my life worrying that it will be disrupted by a criminal, I spend very little time LIVING my own and they win. If I spend my time making myself feel stronger by surrounding myself with cowards, how strong am I really? I’d rather be built up by the strength and courage of the people I know than to have sunk to the level of the fear mongers.

That’s it, in the end, do we have the strength to realize that “different” is not the same as “evil” or “loathsome”? Or do we stay with the comfort of our own xenophobic beliefs and forget Genesis 3:19?

By the sweat of your face
You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return.”

The Great Equalizer comes for all of us one day…

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Reason Has Left the Building

 

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.

*sigh*

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.

*sigh again*

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*

Comments, Trolls, Civility and Middle-ground

I was reading comments sections on the internet…again…ugh…*deep breath*…

The internet is great. It can allow us to find information about any topic we might ever possibly dream up. We can even invent new things to become dreams. It is a tool that lets us form friendships that last for years and bonds with people we may never see face to face. Because of the internet I met the Lady that became my wife. It is a way for people to have a voice. To share views and ideas. To be able to stand up for people and concepts.

The internet is also one of the ugliest things that has ever been invented. Like I said at the top, I was reading “comments”. I should have been not surprised. I’m drawn to them like a moth to a flame. I know I’m gonna get stressed and burned yet, I still go back…

*sigh*

Civility seems to be optional. People that would never walk up to a stranger and say “f**k you, you deserve to die because you think that” have no problem doing it on the net. We don’t even think twice about it. We just type away and hit “enter” as if we are just talking to ourselves. We have decided that what we have to say really doesn’t hurt someone “out there” and even if it did, we’ll never see them so it’s ok. Normally calm and polite folk say things that they would NEVER say face to face. We castigate, condemn, and berate without a moment’s hesitation. We accuse those that disagree with us of lacking intelligence, humanity, and morality. We make assumptions about strangers and project them not knowing any more about that person than the handful of words we are responding to…and we do it without a second thought. Just hit “enter” and you’ve struck a blow for whatever cause you think you might have.

In some ways, as much as it pains me to say this, I’d rather see commentators be like the Westboro Baptist loonies. At least, they are willing to put their physical selves on the line. They are willing to take their views out with their real faces and be berated in return. They don’t hide behind a false profile and a user name. I entirely disagree with their views and the places they protest but, respect their willingness to not hide. Does that make sense?

I’ve never attempted to hide my bias. I write for and about a friend named Z. It is always personal when I write these. She is always close to the surface of my thoughts even when I’m not writing because I’m either thinking about what comes next or something triggers a thought. I’ve become more educated because I write, meaning I read both pro and anti LBGT sites. I read both the far left and far right political views. Ugh…

Again, my bias shows, I am pro-Z. In this context, that means pro-LBGT. In a greater context, it means that I want the best for her life in every possible way. I want her to be free from insult for her political views. I want her faith to be treated with dignity. I want her seen as the complete human she is and not just one aspect of that. I’ve used this space and her to try to make that point. She allows and encourages me to do that.

So, why does that last bit fit? Because we forget. We think that we have some right to be rude and uncaring. I have to hit backspace so often I think I might break the key. I read comments and it seems that people go looking for reasons to be a troll or, just as bad, on a site that supports their view, to vilify and demonize the other side. When we say “all (fill in the blank) are (insult here)” we are guilty of what we protest. Yeah, I’m guilty of that, too. It’s why I try to say “I” or “we”.

How do we fix the problem? We try to be civil. We try to understand that lives are more than a sound bite. That thoughts…even fearful and repugnant thoughts have some reason behind them. We try reasoning with people and not shouting or insulting them. We ask questions with a mind to gain insight and understanding. We don’t personalize insults or assume they’re directed at us. We presume ignorance, not stupidity, so we might educate and explain our own views. We realize that, if we can change and evolve our thoughts, given a chance, others can, too.

It is my weakness. I am guilty of what I’m talking about. Not the attacks or being a troll, on screen, as much as taking insults to the LBGT community to  be directed specifically at Z. I take comments that say “ALL Christians” to be directed at me. *sigh* Even when I realize the commenter has no clue I exist. I become defensive and stressed over the words of strangers. My keyboard takes a beating and then deletes the post I’m about to make…

Please don’t take this post to mean that I’m saying all of any group is either good or bad. There are some pure souls in any group…except for “hate groups”. There are some truly rotten people in every group, too. Mostly, though, groups are made of imperfect humans that have an inkling of a thought and it seems to fit their view. Sometimes that inkling is more well found. Sometimes it’s just what they want to believe. The pure souls don’t need to be changed. The rotten can not. The ones in the middle are the ones to teach. We, the middle people, the ones trying to muddle through and live in peace can be educated…if we are not alienated by the people that want to change our views.

I hope this made sense. I wish reason would break out. It’d be nice to be able to not be so defensive. I’d love it if I could get past the point where I take every comment that is “anti-(insert friend or cherished belief)” quite so personally. Maybe my answer is to just not read comments and insulate myself…nah…I will keep reading comments and maybe try to take my own advice. Besides, blocking, banning, hiding, and removing give such a sense of power. *grins*

It’s Your Fault…and Mine…

Straights, gays, bi’s, men, women, lovers, haters, Protestant Christians, Catholics, Pagans, Jews, Atheists, Agnostics, Liberals, Conservatives, Dems, the GOP, Socialists, Communists, Libertarians, Anarchists, environmentalists, industrialists, capitalists, the rich, the poor, the middle class, the East Coast, California, Texas, the Deep South, Chicago, the Midwest, the West, Immigrants, Citizens, Native Americans,Yankees, Rebs,  any race you please, Vegans, Carnivores, George Soros, the Koch brothers, Apple, Google, Monsanto, Exon-Mobile, BP, junk food, fast food, Organic food, GMO’s, carbs, trans-fats, PETA, the Illuminati, the Military Industrial Complex, Welfare, Social Security,addicts, gun owners, anti-gun activists, Pro-choice, Pro-life, Baby Boomers, Gen-X, Gen-Y, Gen-IDK,  any other generation you want, *did I miss any?* Obergfell, the Civil Rights Movement, gang-bangers, andthe KKK…are ALL going to be the “downfall of American Society”…

Here’s the deal, we really aren’t. This country is strong enough, big enough, and resilient enough that there’s room for all the varieties of humans in it. There’s room for me, Z, and you. There’s room for offense to be offered and NOT taken. We can do this. We have gone from an upstart colony with an idea that “all men were created equal…” and grown to be the USA. The thing that will tear us apart is when WE forget that WE are a nation made of individuals that all, in the end, want the same things, “…Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…”

*sigh*

We made it through 1776, 1812, the Civil War, Dec 7, and Sept 11…

Maybe, just maybe, if we quit seeing threats and start seeing humans, there won’t be any “downfall of American Society”…

*editorial, If I missed you in my list and you’d like to be included, leave me a comment*