Name-Calling is Not a Political Stance

I think as a society we risk doing more harm than good when valid critique of policy is not met with honest debate but instead with personal attacks and name-calling.

Imagine being a white person who judges on character not on skin tone or culture, and simply because that white person doesn’t agree with a political position of a person with different skin tone or culture, that white person is called a “racist.” Imagine how hurtful that is because there is no way to defend it. They are guilty and cannot possibly prove their innocence. It doesn’t matter how loving the person is, or how much virtue signaling they do, if one is called a “racist” or “homophobe” or what-have-you, they cannot defend it because it must be true based on the accepted belief that all white people are racists, or all Republicans and all straight people or Christians are homophobic, etc.

Due to the media’s, public personas’ and politicians’ complicity in creating this deceitful narrative, we have a situation where a vast number of otherwise decent people are maligned regardless of their actions and hearts.

The fallout is grave for both sides: anger, resentment, hostility, and division. In the act of bending facts and truth to create desired narratives, we’ve created a powder keg that only can be diffused with love and truth. And, that has to start small. In our neighborhoods and towns with average people helping one another, talking to one another, interacting, loving, seeking to understand and leaving the hate behind.

I’m a Christian and I follow my Lord’s command that I must love my neighbor as myself. I don’t have to agree with your choices, your lifestyle, your politics or whatever, but I DO have to love you.

Allow me the decency of my right to have an opinion that is different than yours, and I’ll allow you the same. Let’s just not call each other names.

Roseanne and Other Twitter Nightmares

Roseanne’s racist tweet gets her show canned. Bill Maher apologizes for using racial slur. Alec Baldwin viciously slams gay reporter. Joy Behar equates Christianity with mental illness.  Trump…well, you know. And on, and on, and on…

The attacks are personal. They’re not about issues. Neither are they about seeking resolution. They are personal and cruel. Most are distasteful and horrid digs at a person or a culture, revolving around race, sexual orientation, disability, looks, or any number of physical or characteristic attributes.

 But they are not about issues.

 Issues themselves are boring and don’t grab headlines. Shocking slams get attention.

 Looking over social media, it’s clear that very few people have honor or mores (look it up, this is not a typo). There is no civilized discourse, or honorable interaction. Everything said is meant to grab attention and to feed or sway an audience.

 And, we are the audience. We’re the suckers lapping it up.

 I’m reminded of a story my husband told me. His dad, after a long career in the Air Force, lived out his work life in the corporate world. He nabbed a gig at an American plant of a Japanese company. Now, anyone who has worked for Japanese companies understands their unique culture of comingling capitalistic big business with Japanese cultural protocols. It can make for some interesting situations. My father-in-law worked on the team reorganizing a new inventory system. He became alarmed at the lack of security, and when questioning his superior, the response was, “We will rely on honor.” To which, my father-in-law replied, “Sir, we’re Americans, we have no honor.” The losses that first year were so great that they shut down the entire program.

 I can hear his sentiment ringing in my head as I read the latest scandals: we have no honor.

 As a collective, we don’t.

 But as an individual, we can.

 You, me, your neighbor, your co-worker, your spouse, your friend, your mother, your brother…we can EACH have honor in this dishonorable world.

 How? 

 The honorable thing to do when someone else doesn’t have honor is not to fight back, but to turn off that person. Unfollow or unfriend them. Unplug from Social Media. Stop listening to the news. Stop scanning the latest headlines. When we’re stuck in the Troll-dom of responding to every headline, every tweet, post, quote, or opinion piece, we’re part of the problem, not the solution. We allow the garbage to thrive.

 But, if I don’t respond, no one will!

 No. If you DO respond, you’re not changing them, you’re giving them an audience. You’re giving them a platform, an opportunity to be the most talked about issue of the day.

 Don’t give them that power. Unplug. Take a walk. Meet a friend for coffee. Do your work. Laugh with your family and friends. Volunteer. Give back. 

 But, don’t continue to feed the negativity.

 They have no honor. But YOU can.

 “Etiquette is the science of living. It embraces ethics. It is honor.” ~Emily Post, etiquette author