Literal: Respect others in order to be respected.
I imagine this proverb is found in most cultures. It is so simple. Right? It would be much simpler if it were not just universally accepted, but universally practiced. I have lamented for days about the TeaParty. And they have kind of exceeded even my expectations of how low a person can go in order to win an argument. That is not to say, however, that we were ever having the same argument. Any fact offered is generally met with something to the level of, "Nu'huh. You are." One guy was good enough to rewrite the Bible for me today to justify his disdain for the poor. I'm sure Jesus appreciated his efforts. That was probably an oversight or mistranslation. Many will send you a clever meme to make a point. When, exactly, did a meme become such a valid piece of evidence in a debate? It then hit me. This is not a debate. This is a game.
I can't play games. As with most things in life, I take politics too seriously. In January I took a look at the controversy over the movie American Sniper (see blog here) where I tried to start my reflection from the center. I am generally pretty left on a lot of things, but when I hear people talk shit about soldiers and vets, I get pretty pissed. I could understand the controversy about what a sniper does and the fact that he said he did not regret it, but I could also go deeper and realize that he would have to think that way to exist. I also realized that he was saying this after many tours and any PTSD that he may have been suffering from would be veiled under a demeanor that could say nothing else. I concluded that his job is very necessary these days. In my deliberate attempt to start from the center, I was quite proud of my ability to remain there throughout. I determined that this was going to be the way I would approach all things in the future. I would always want to really dig into the mindset of the opposition so that I could have a level and respectful dialogue.
Respectful dialogue is impossible, however, with the Tea Party fanatics. They don't want to debate or discuss, they just want to fight. And, I will admit, I do play along. In general, I am a lovely human being. But if you ask me to be a bitch, I will oblige. I think I am guilty of baiting them, too. I'm sure I am, actually. I discuss something that is an actual fact and complete my contention by letting them know they are stupid. Its mean. It really is. I never judge people for things about themselves that they can't help. That is, by the way, why I am a Liberal.
These fanatics can't help that they are stupid. But they can help that they are mean. And they choose to be vile. Some of my little hashtags on my profile say #Adoptee #AnxietyDisorder #Depression #Feminist. And my profile line, which is a joke to anyone with just a hint of a sense of humor, states that I am unemployed (I am unemployed, but its only in my profile because I was making light of it). Oh Holy Shit do they have a field day with that information. Since I've been a kid I have been really funny about whose judgment I am willing to receive. Basically, if you aren't one of the handful of people in my life that I am really living for, I don't care about your opinions. I doubt that I would have listed any of the things in my profile if I were vulnerable about them. Of course, they don't know that. And someone with less self-esteem could really be hurt by their shit.
One guy, after seeing that I have depression suggested that I drink bleach. I am adorable. It went straight over my head. I asked why anyone would want to drink bleach, it sounded so stupid. He then explained that I should kill myself. Charming. Another suggested, due to my having been adopted, that it was a shame my mother couldn't afford an abortion. Brilliant. Countless have criticized me in the last couple of days for being unemployed and demanded my shame for taking up their hard earned tax dollars. Ok. My favorite though, was a guy who said things about my mother doing sex acts with him. I cannot explain the acts or his assertion though, because the sentence made no sense. I went back to find it and I think he has blocked me.
But honestly, this is how they have a discussion. Why discuss the issues? Just try to hurt someone's feelings and consider it a victory! It boggles my mind. How do they function in society? How do their families bear them during the holidays? How much hate can one soul embrace? It really is sad. I often tell them that I feel bad for them. And I do.
When they aren't throwing barbs, they are posting memes. I guess that it doesn't occur to them that the best way to prove my point of your having been conditioned to believe what you do is to send me the talking points you have been sent. One of my more brilliant arguments today was with a guy who was working hard to convince me that the Dems are racist. Its one of their new talking points in this opposite world they don't question. He sent me this meme to make his point, asking me what part of this wasn't racist.
There is nothing you can do with a group of people who actually believe every single thing they are told. But I still think they are the minority. I still think there are a lot of people out there who don't realize that the "R" on their ballot really represents a "T." If we could find a way to get the message to them in the next year and a half, we might be able to get our country back on track.