As we come near to the close of another year, I have many thoughts swirling in my head. Many frustrations. I listen, observe, and study. And this is what I see:
We are proud of our intelligence, then believe lies that make us think we are better than other humans.
We say we are compassionate, but use God as an excuse for judgement, bigotry, and hatred.
We mock those who are using their smart phones in public, but then spend hours in front of a television when at home.
We want others to cut us some slack when we make a mistake, but then honk rudely or flash headlights when someone is actually driving the speed limit in front of us.
We don’t want to be ripped off by government or business, but we have no qualms about gloating over the extra change we got from the mistake of the cashier at the grocery store.
If we don’t care about what others think of us, why do we all lie about our weight on our drivers’ license?
We perpetuate lies and myths as facts in order to tear down those in authority because we don’t like them, or have been told not to like them.
We don’t want God to judge us, but we feel completely A-OK to publicly shame and ridicule others for what they wear, eat, think, or say.
We love our mothers, sisters, daughters dearly, but we still maintain that women are objects of scrutiny and ridicule in the media, pornography, and in the raunchy jokes told between guys.
We all proudly proclaim our freedom of speech, but then we use it to blatantly hurt others and wave our banner of privilege for all to see.
We claim persecution when we don’t get our expected privilege, thus invalidating true persecution happening to oppressed groups both near and far.
We are so arrogant that we believe everyone believes as we do.
We ignorantly maintain negative social stereotypes of other cultural groups to make ourselves feel superior. And, then dress up like these on Halloween.
We ignore bad situations in order to avoid scrutiny ourselves, but through silence do nothing but hurt.
We believe that our experience is fact, disagreeing with science or research based on our subject-set of one.
We make God into an image of what we desire or need for comfort and justification. We use the ‘word’ or subjective mystical experience to back up our oppressive behavior, judgment, and bigotry.
I used the term ‘we’…yes, I am not excluding myself. But, what are we going to do about it? We can post nice memes that exhort the best in humans and nature all day long, but if we don’t care about others nor understand that hurting people also hurts us, we are a sad lot, indeed.
If you ascribe to the bible, both God the Father and Jesus said that the MOST important things for humans to do was to love God and love our neighbor. No, that neighbor was not specified…but I think we know. Our neighbor is the one we just mocked, trolled, cut off in traffic, lied to, laughed at, bullied, shunned, hurt, and oppressed with our privilege, whether it was white privilege, male privilege, or class privilege. We are a community of humans that seem to thrive on hurting those around us to make ourselves feel better.
I observe this. I study this. I weep for this.
Whether its social media, television, movies, politics, or just strolling the mall – I see neighbors putting themselves first by hurting others. It is so accepted that we don’t even see it.
The solution? Gosh, I don’t think I have one! But I might suggest, at least for myself, that I not shove my beliefs in the faces of others and expect them to respect me. I won’t brandish symbols that trumpet my privilege just because I can, I won’t be a rude, self-centered jerk in traffic, and I will have compassion for those around me, whether they appear needy or not. Because we are all needy – we all suffer. All. No one gets out without suffering. That is the problem. What’s your solution?