“their own self loathing …” Continue reading
There are a number of things that I aspire to stay away from. Some of those things being red meat, poultry, religion (conversationally), comment boards and the arguments that they spawn in the blogosphere.
I was on my little used Twitter account at the height of the Michael Sam kissing hullabaloo a couple weeks ago when I saw an ongoing trail of invective about it, letting my curiosity get the best of me, I started reading through some the threads.
Ironically, some or the most hateful invective I saw was spewed from the lips of (his name is unimportant) a columnist and a self-described ordained minister with an audience, that I can safely say numbers over a couple hundred people.
For him to be a minister, I expected some semblance of love and deference to the Holy Spirit to be omnipresent in his dialogue, but instead there seemed to be a heavy layer of loathing, condemnation and judgment. So I felt compelled to pose what I felt was a straight forward question.
My query to him touched on the fanatical concern that many heterosexual and self-proclaimed religious people have with the affairs of gay people. When there is so much work that we as human beings have to contend with in our respective lives, why are you so concerned?
In short how do the personal inclinations of others impact, interfere and infringe on ours and why should we care? Is it a belief that “gay” is contagious? Given the fact that I am solidly heterosexual my standing is not impacted by gay people having a desire not to be ostracized merely for being who they are.
He responded and so began the back and forth on Twitter.
He started off advising me of my obvious lack of understanding that I had of the Bible and of God’s law. He then followed that with a proclamation of Michael Sam being an “amoral” being.
It is my contention that I’m amoral a couple times during the course of the week (especially in rush hour traffic).
Just like the rest of humanity, I confess to being a hot mess!
I mentioned Matthew 7:1, where Jesus states:
“Do not judge or you too will be judged”, but he countered that I didn’t have the insight to reference the Good Book, so much for my vaunted reading comprehension skills.
I countered that Michael Sam’s actions and that of the gay community as a whole does not have any impact on me was of little consequence, and he summarily branded meas a sympathizer damning me to hell alongside the rest of the sinners.
It was obvious that he had everything all figured out and no one could tell him otherwise, he was the pinnacle of flawless humanity if you let him tell it.
I got the impression that he was trying to goad me into an argument, but I wouldn’t take the bait. Eventually, the tug of war stopped as a quote from Mark Twain popped into my head:
Summarily, I deleted the entire exchange from my Twitter feed, somewhat disappointed that I even gave it a couple minutes out of my life that I will never get back.
If it is fanatical or sinful for me to have the audacity to regard a person who happens to be gay as merely another human being who is deserving of the same respect I think I should be accorded?
If so, I guess I’ll have to resign myself to my fate.
Can gay people get a whole slice of liberty?
The bigger question is this and I’ll pose it to you, my readers… An open forum if you will.
When people wrap themselves so firmly in the Bible, why is that they feel impervious of their own shortcomings and subsequently deputized to condemn everyone that does not agree with them?
The inclination towards being judgmental isn’t unique to Christians, this moral grandstanding applies to a host of other belief systems as well, and can be accorded to anything that people are passionate about.
In short, is it too much to fathom a scenario where we all accept the reality that we are a hot mess or would that be too much like right?
In my travels throughout the connected world via the Internet and the medium of social media, one of the things that often gives me pause is the invective spewed by people on comment boards. I’ve mentioned previously that I feel that anonymity of the Internet provides people with a layer of courage that would otherwise be absent in a conventional setting.
I’ve also wondered about how much the overall comprehension and respect for history has in informing, influencing and powering the overall political philosophies that many people hold. Nowadays it is very common to see battle lines drawn in the sphere of American politics along the lines of Democratic and Republican camps with Independents occupying a netherworld of sorts, not feeling comfortable with aligning themselves with either party.
The buzz words of conservative and liberal are often used as an epithet to describe those who proudly wear the label of party, but it is my contention that such labels do more harm than good. As I am inclined to believe that both camps have a symbiotic relationship that neither side truly appreciates.
Conservatives are often associated with bible thumping and intolerance, while liberals are often painted with a broad brush of being sympathetic to socialism and having communist leanings and the like. In lieu of the ugliness that each side is branded with it makes for a proverbial minefield that is nearly impossible to cross, but there is common ground to found on nearly any issue. But, people have to sincerely want it; the will to understand must be there.
In short… It is incumbent on people to meet others where they are at, not where we would like them to be.
This has been my thought process for quite some time, especially when I consider the laborious process of governing myself, let alone going through the foolhardy exercise of pointing my finger at someone or group that doesn’t fit my concept of what is right.
Intellectually, I like the idea of understanding why people operate in the fashion that they do. Everybody has a story and depending on the circumstances most people like to hear a good narrative, it is a core component of our humanity and it is what separates us from everything that we have dominion over on the planet Earth.
As human beings the key component to our survival as a species has been an ability to adapt to changing environments, circumstances and the like. Without this progressive, adaptive component of our nature, our time on this planet would have ended thousands of years earlier. In looking at the referenced definitions and the accompanying hyperlinks, logically where does humanity fall in the grand scheme of things?
Consider this… With the founding of the United States had the conservative thought process won out, with the implicit acknowledgment of slavery enshrined in the Constitution in Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3, not to mention the passage of 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution where would that leave us as a society? Not to mention the passage of the 19th amendment, this granted women the right to vote in 1920. The suffrage movement was a “liberal” movement that was vehemently opposed by the conservatives of the time, who contended that “suffrage would also sever the chivalric ties between men and women, as well go against the word of God, as written in the Bible”. Unfortunately, it took the enactment of a number of Civil Rights Acts in the 19th and 20th centuries before there was some semblance of equality under the letter of the law.
Looking at it from the surface it would seem that “liberals” and “conservatives” have a much needed symbiotic relationship that they should appreciate rather than denigrate. One of the most powerful narratives written that touches on the efficacy of progressive thought in my opinion is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s 1963 “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” where he answered the queries of those who preached “conservatism” versus what was thought to be a “liberal” course of action to oppose what was considered unjust laws that were on the books. I especially appreciated how King alluded to Socrates belief that it is “necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal”
Why is this considered a foreign concept to us in 2014? I guess common sense is truly easier than it sounds.
I have always been entranced by the narrative of history ever since my father mandated that reading the family collection of World Book encyclopedias was to be my sole form of entertainment.
Initially, I equated it with cruel and unusual punishment before I realized the power that came with the comprehension and respect of history.
The gravity of the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington was not lost on me, in lieu of professional considerations that kept me from being a participant in the commemoration of one the most pivotal events in American History.
I had to settle with listening to the recap of the day that was piloting my car through traffic during my commute home. The emotion that was generated by the speakers of today, however genuine in their disbursement pales in comparison to what was delivered by Dr. King and the others that spoke to the quarter million people gathered in the Capitol on that August afternoon a half century ago.
Upon arriving home and making my rounds of the news headlines I noticed the hashtag #advancingthedream. And I found myself thinking…
What is it that I am doing to advance the dream? What value am I contributing to the honor of Dr. King and the other Americans who stood in the face of institutional indifference of their humanity to demand that they be acknowledged and respected for who they were.
As I pondered this question, for a split second I considered that my answer would be a unequivocal NOTHING; but just as quickly as that thought began to enter my head it left, as I found myself consumed with the host of life lessons that were imparted to me by my parents and my maternal Grandmother in particular.
Although my Grandmother did not speak during the March on Washington, I view her in the same vein as Dr. King and the other giants of the movement.
When she speaks, I find myself hanging on each syllable as everything that rolls from her lips holds a nugget of wisdom that has served her well in her 90+ years on this planet and I realize that this is the person that I most want to be like.
My Grandmother and her siblings like many African-Americans during The Great Migration of the early 20th century left intolerable conditions in the South to migrate to the “Promised Land” of the North where opportunities were more plentiful.
Whenever I ask about the conditions that led to her departure from her native Alabama, it always amazes me how magnanimous she is in reflecting on the situations that led her to make Chicago her home. Her astute observation that “You can’t fault folks that don’t know enough to come in from out of the rain” is a metaphor that has powered me throughout my life in retrospect.
Not harboring anger at hatred and/or stupidity, but instead feeling pity for those that are burdened with it and succeding in spite of it not because it…
It is by honoring our parents, grandparents and those who came before us that we can best “Advance the Dream”.
It is about justifying the sacrifices that they made for us in spite of the obstacles that were erected in their path. It is our mandate, our duty to the world we live in, to leave it in a better place than we found it, by giving more than we take from the world.