This is not who we are.
“This” being, you know, the general vibe that’s going on right now. Mostly, I’m referring to the gross feeling I have in my stomach. And I’ll be honest: feeling bad feels bad.
With that in mind, the time has come to call out the responsible parties. But getting too specific would require me to take an unambiguous moral stand, which might alienate people, and then my tummy would feel funny again.
So, this is my plea to the American people: cut it out!
This atmosphere of conflict, this aura of incivility, this poisonous rhetoric whose origins could not possibly be identified — it is, in a word, yucky.
Everyone is responsible. Whether you’re part of a political movement to suffocate the marginalized voices in this country, or you’re someone who won’t stop complaining about it, we all have our part to play.
Whatever happened to the good old days? Why can’t the vulnerable populations under constant attack and their oppressors treat each other like gentlemen?
(Ladies, I don’t mean to exclude you, but you have to admit, ever since women started taking prominent roles in politics, we’ve seen a sharp increase in misogynistic behavior and sexist language. I’m not blaming you! And I’m also not blaming anyone else, and never will!)
All I’m saying is that divisiveness never helped anything. Take the example of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Now, literally, the only firsthand knowledge I have about his activism is a vague memory of the 45 seconds of his “I Have a Dream” speech that they made us watch in 4th grade during Black History Month.
But that’s enough for me to conclude: he would probably agree with me! For reasons that again, I cannot and will not specify.
Whatever happened to “two wrongs don’t make a right”? Just because your senator supported a bill that will ravage your community for the benefit of an increasingly inaccessible ruling class, that doesn’t give you the right to yell mean words at them and make them even momentarily sad!
And to that end: if they create a law legally taking away that right, that won’t give you the right to send them written dissent which could potentially make the staffer who throws it away feel briefly uncomfortable!
We are better than this. There’s such a demonstrable contrast in our political discourse now compared to just a few years ago. Before, we (i.e. people who went to my private high school in the suburbs of some mid-sized metropolitan area) were delightfully insulated from any bad news or hateful dialogue. But now we’re constantly forced to confront these systemic issues.
Who is the culprit, you ask? Well clearly, there’s culpability to go around. I’d allocate it as follows: 50% to the systemic issues, and 50% to the people who tell us we need to confront the systemic issues. After all, before they said anything, I wasn’t hearing about it!
That’s why I think we should meet in the middle. The work here is twofold: we have to call out the activists who are impolite to the people in power, and then we have to vaguely hope the people in power will change course on their own.
So make no mistake. My stance is immovable. In general, things should be good. When things are bad, that sucks. And I will never waver from that principle. Unless it makes someone upset.