"You like potato I like potahto, you like tomato, I like tomahto; Potato, potahto, Tomato, tomahto...let's call the whole thing off."--Shall We Dance
Surprise-surprise--I've been getting into colorful exchanges with people on facebook regarding the election as the big day approaches. I pride myself in the ability to keep it civil in public spaces, but I gladly offer up snark sandwiched in facts when people get ugly. I'm all about giving people the opportunity to show their true colors. You know that saying: "When people show you who they are the first time, believe them"? Yeah, I live by that. Sure, people can change--but if you're a grown woman/man calling the President of the United States a "dumb Mooslim Nigger"? My bet is that you're pretty much set in your thoughts and ways (or you're married to your first cousin...).
Even in knowing this, my idiotic desire to "inform" people--because most of the false impressions we hold about others is based firmly in misinformation or lack of information entirely--gets me into the aforementioned colorful exchanges or, what they're usually called: facebook fights.
Facebook fighting earlier this week led to a person trying to come for me in private messages, because they'd been blocked from the thread after acting out. I won't go into the messages here; instead, I want to explore a response from someone else, aimed toward the ugly acting person. I will disclose the sex and race of those involved for future reference: ugly acting person was a Caucasian female, the person's page we were having the discussion on was a Caucasian male, the responder was a Caucasian female, and I don't think anyone save my fb friend knew my ethnicity because my profile pic is one of Barack Obama (although she probably thinks I'm a mooslim nigger because of that--we all look the same anyway, right?).
The initial post was about how the GOP highlighted Religion and Race during the '08 campaign, but are mum on the issue of Romney's religion and the racist beliefs of their past. My exact comment was "I have been saying this over and over and over and it falls on deaf ears. Thanks for posting this--maybe people will READ and see (doubt it, but hopeful. lol)" The responder agreed with me, saying "This is a powerful read! but you know what? Republicans are not interested in reading anything to the contrary...in fact, to quote them, they're not even interested in the facts...so, yes [my name], it probably won't get read...no way to fall on deaf ears when not read and just ignored." Enter the ugly acting person, with their bad grammar, misspelled words, and FauxNews soundbites. The responder then says "Thank you for your response, [ugly acting person's name]. To each her own."
Nope. Nawl. Nuh-uh. NO!
THIS is what I've observed as a HUGE part of the problem with our country's (lack of) cohesiveness: We would rather shy away from informative debate than be uncomfortable. We would rather play nice and politically correct than point out when someone is egregiously wrong. We want everyone to like us, so we smile in their face, yet do the "this one's craaazy" gesture behind their backs. We would rather give them the "to each their own" provision as a quick bail out of our own responsibility to do the hard work required to be a good human.
Here's the problem with that though: It's not "to each their own," because THIS IDIOT'S ACTIONS AFFECT US ALL--AS A WHOLE!! If people would get their heads out of the sand for two seconds, they'd realize this. What if people just said "to each their own" when it came to civil rights? To Women's rights? To Gay rights? (I just said the same thing three different ways, and I hope you were smart enough to realize that.) What if we were all: "Oh, you don't like Jews because you think they are inferior and you want to indoctrinate everyone--especially children--with vicious, hateful propaganda making the case for their extermination? You think it's ok to just round them up, take away their rights, and kill them? I don't but, hey--to each their own. Do your thing Hitler. Who am I to judge?" Yeah, marinate on that for a quick second.
I'm not saying you need to waste your days on facebook fighting with idiots, but placating people who are spreading and acting on bigoted, uninformed opinions has GOT. TO. STOP. If you do it because you "just don't want to ruffle any feathers" or "just don't want to get involved" then you're part of the problem, plain and simple. You're almost as bad as the people who say and do the bigoted, uninformed things, because you KNOW it's stupid and you say NOTHING. You're running away from the solution while lamenting "someone should DO something about this!" You're the person that skips over all the "long stuff" when you vote, but when something happens according to how the "long stuff" was implemented, you shout "there ought to be a LAW against this!" You, my friend, are subjecting us all to the rampant intolerance overtaking our country because you're feigning neutrality.
If you are truly neutral, then God bless you. I envy your ability to hear and see injustice and turn a blind eye/deaf ear. But, if you are a human being capable of forming full sentences, and know the difference between right, wrong, fantasy and reality--please OPEN YOUR MOUTH AND SAY SO. It doesn't have to be ugly, it doesn't have to be long. A lie is a lie and the truth is the truth, speak the truth and let it do it's job. The truth's job is to enlighten, to soften hearts, to change minds. The truth's job is to force the lies back and make them ashamed. The truth's job is justice, equality, peace. That is why we must speak it. Notice I said THE truth, not YOUR truth--those are two VERY DIFFERENT THINGS, depending on who you are. But if YOUR truth is aligned with THE truth, then it will RING TRUE when it is heard.
Speak the truth. Only then will we each comfortably be able to have our own.