Tag Archives: bigotry

Politics Suck – Embrace Humanity

Here in the US many folks are embroiled in one of two things: football – and the atrocious calls the replacement refs are making – and political theater.  For once I’m not offended or too annoyed with the football discussions.  This is, perhaps, one of the first times in my adult life where I can honestly say the political conversation is so absurd folks might as well be talking about something as ineffectual and non life altering as a sport they don’t play.  The conversations are rarely about anything substantive with chants of “MY guy/team is better than YOUR guy/team” blaring all over cyber space en masse.

While today I’m slightly more angry and frustrated than I am sad, my words in a recent interview are what stand clearly in my awareness:

The question of “who does this law/regulation hurt” is ignored in favor of the unacknowledged favoritism of a certain group or individual over another. Penalizing law abiding citizens is rather like playing favorites with your children. It hurts an innocent for no good reason other than the self-imposed, self-permitted prejudice.  This is so very sad to me.

This can be said the world over – no matter your politics, nationality, or religion – politics has done what, in my opinion, it was always meant to do: Separate people.  Not from each other necessarily (although between religion and politics this happens a great deal), but each individual from their own humanity.  The conversation during elections isn’t about how one can help another person, about how a politician or party’s actions is bent toward penalizing some individuals simply because of income, sexual orientation, race, gender or, worse in the case of US, geographic locale that permits bombing and drone attacks.  They’re all about the champions each of us has selected and how they’re better or worse than someone else’s.  And as so many of us do this we believe we’re supporting who/what we need to because of humanity while in actuality we eschew it in favor of rhetoric and the misplaced hope that a lesser evil is some sort of good.  The argument is about how to decorate the 90th floor of a skyscraper without ever having looked to see the steel encasing it was brittle.

The hard questions, those we need to ask ourselves, go unanswered.  Questions like – Why do I believe someone who makes more money than me/my family should pay a higher percentage of their income (when the same percentage of their income paid in taxes is more than what I pay)?  What is “fair”?  Why do I think going to war is a good idea?  Why do I want to send others to do it when I’m not willing to sign up?  If I sign up why should I make others pay my salary and weapons when they’re so against anyone, me or my enemies, killing/dying?  Why do I not want “these” people to die?  Why do I want “those” people to die?

In each and every question lies a piece of our own humanity.  With each answer we reclaim more of it.

The rhetoric surrounding the pundit of choice can and will only ever reflect that which the majority of most individuals are willing to confront.  It’s time each person takes a step back, looks into themselves, and asks the hard questions.  Until then each election will bring out more of the same: reflections of the bigotry, resentment, and fear each voter is afraid to confront within themselves.  Without these things a de facto aristocracy could not be tolerated.  Without them the dialogue changes.  Lesser of evils will be viewed as evil and not permissable.  Solutions will come from people, not systems.  Our fellow human beings will exist in our minds and hearts without or apart from the previously prescribed labels.  We will trust our own judgments based upon the ethics each of us have thought of and fought ourselves to have and in so doing will be able to evaluate candidates based upon records, facts.  Change the dialogue and forget politics.  Remember your humanity and, by extension, that of others – even if you disagree with them.

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A word rant…

As I am oft inclined to do (too often, might I add) I discuss politics with people across the ideological spectrum and lately have been struck with a blow to the head that practically knocked me out of my boots.  Okay, perhaps not out of my boots so much as sending my temper into the stratosphere but, nonetheless, struck I was.  I’m not going to espouse my own political philosophy here but would like to talk a bit about words and how very far reaching those mere syllables are – particularly when people use them WRONG.

A friend of mine and I were discussing the word bigotry and I had used it to discuss the marginalization people are committing by assuming a category for an individual, blasting that individual for the perceived belonging into that group and sometimes accusing that person of being a bigot (not saying that isn’t necessarily true but that’s kinda like the pot calling the kettle black).  So, let us discuss the word bigotry as defined by my favorite online resource – dictionary.reference.com.

big·ot·ry

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// ]]>bigotry pronunciation /ˈbɪgətri/ Show Spelled[big-uh-tree] Show IPA

–noun,plural-ries.

1.

stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own.
2.

the actions, beliefs, prejudices, etc., of a bigot.

Origin:
1665–75; bigot + -ry, formation parallel to F bigoterie

—Synonyms
1. narrow-mindedness, bias, discrimination.

We can note that a person speaking about ideals not based upon the categorization, and too frequently occurring marginalization, of an individual’s characteristics is not bigotry.  So, if someone says “I dislike your premise because oranges are indeed oranges” is an okay statement to make and not bigotted.  Well, unless you want to talk about the orange at all but it didn’t seem as though there were anything discriminatory there like saying “I dislike your premise because oranges are indeed oranges and I hates them because they’re not apples.  And, btw, I don’t like you either because you’re an orange lover – orange lovers are EVIL.”

Now that we’ve got that all cleared up, let us have a frank discussion of a productive conversation of belief and/or ideals.  To immediately jump to a “well you’re a PERSON who worships oranges so what you say doesn’t have any validity” is a bigoted statement as well.  This way of categorizing simply to denigrate a person is quite unacceptable to me.  It lacks thought, understanding, and a simple acceptance of variations on a theme that humans represent.  Because so many people think that to be bigoted wholly relates to the concept of ethnicity this lambasting of ideals is not addressed as it should be – a piece of bigotry, prejudice and bias – never leading to a full intellectual discourse but instead enabling a crippling of understanding and, potentially, compassion.  Overwhelmingly, however, this word is most malevolently misunderstood by individuals who claim they’re against bigotry all while using separatist language.  So, let’s just not do that, ‘kay?

And that leads me to….  TAH DAH!  Hypocrite.  Oh, yeah – I’m so going there.

hyp·o·crite

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// ]]>hypocrite pronunciation /ˈhɪpəkrɪt/ Show Spelled[hip-uh-krit] Show IPA

–noun

1.

a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, esp. a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.
2.

a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, esp. one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.

Origin:
1175–1225; ME ipocrite < OF < LL hypocrita < Gk hypokritḗs a stage actor, hence one who pretends to be what he is not, equiv. to hypokrī́(nesthai) (see hypocrisy) + -tēs agent suffix

There are plenty of hypocrites out there but, again, the word gets bandied about without thought to how it applies to one’s self nor, seemingly, in a manner that actually fits the definition.  Admittedly this word also made the cut because someone actually called me this and, heaven help me, they actually used it incorrectly.  While I do get hurt when I’m called names (who doesn’t?) I get really cranky and righteous when what I got called actually doesn’t apply.  Call me righteous (see how well I can own that?), call me stubborn (*raises hand*), hell – even call me a hypocrite but for the love of Pete at least do it when/if it applies!

Because I am apparently in a fruity mood I’m going to go back to the land of oranges and apples for this one.

Ex. 1.  “All oranges have to walk on the right side of the road facing oncoming traffic.  Apples can do whatever they darn well choose.  This applies to everyone.  Well, except that orange because they’re not really an orange (yes, they are).  But, remember, this applies to ALL ORANGES.”

Ex.2.  Publicly someone says:  “All apples are to be protected and revered.  No longer will they rest upon the plates of the many, but allowed to roam freely, unhindered by anything more malevolent than a root above the ground inhibiting their roll down a hill.”  And that same pro-apple person goes home, rubs their hands together gleefully, and takes a nice big bite out of a beautiful Gala apple.  AND THEY LIKE IT.  (Okay, the liking has nothing to do with being a hypocrite but I’m an author so I like to be wordy sometimes.)

Thanks for partaking of my little rant, today, dear reader.  What word use/misuse annoys you the most?