Every so often, I see lists of things someone thinks the rest of us should know. Never being one to shy away from stealing an idea, I decided to do my own. So, here’s my contribution.
- It’s not about you _ This, for me at least, is the core of the Gospel. You know, “love your neighbor as yourself”? Contrary to Ayn Rand, no one is an island; as Donne said we are all “a piece of the continent, A part of the main”. Honestly, giving any credence to Rand after she tossed out everything she believed in is beyond me.
- Singling out LGBT folks as bigger sinners than the rest of us isn’t “speaking the truth in love” _ Pointing out others faults while ignoring your own isn’t what I’d call loving. Remember the verses from the Sermon on the Mount about the log and the mote? Yeah, that.
- If you said “I don’t single out gays as bigger sinners”, you just did _ Well, singled them out, that is. Look, any time you refer to LGBT people as “the gays”, “the homosexuals” or any of the myriad other more disgusting descriptors, you set them apart. That’s not good.
- While we’re on this subject, othering people is wrong. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking the blacks, the gays or the rednecks _ Did you see what I did there? I employed the phrases that people like to use when they marginalize talk about people they are threatened by disagree with. Reducing people to one defining characteristic denies their humanity. And, that’s not good, either.
- Saying “Well, both sides are bad” when you’re losing an argument is pretty much the same as capitulating. No, I take that back; it’s exactly the same _ I mean, seriously, is it really that hard to say “Oh crap, you’re right. I didn’t know that/never looked at it that way/etc.”?
- Berating an idea, concept, belief, etc. that you don’t know anything about just makes you look stupid. Doing so on social media makes you an ass _ At the risk of sounding like a broken record, seriously, is it really so hard to inform yourself before offering an opinion? I promise, you’ll sound so much smarter saying “I don’t know much about that, so I’ll just keep my mouth shut”. When you shoot your uninformed mouth off from the anonymity of social media, not only do you sound ignorant, you come off as a douche.
- Crapping on people who have less than you is bad, no matter how you dress it up _ I don’t care if you say you’re cleaning up messes (per the NC General Assembly) or curtailing runaway spending (Republicans in the House of Representatives), actions like not expanding Medicaid while cutting taxes on the top 1% and raising them on everyone else or making huge cuts to food stamps while leaving massive subsidies for corporate farms untouched are dick moves any way you look at them.
- How you live is at least as important as what you believe _ I can believe all the right dogma, go to the right church, say the right prayers and tithe the right amount, but if I don’t love my neighbor, it doesn’t mean shit. That’s in the Bible, look it up.
- Laughter is important _ If you don’t take the time to laugh about all the crap that happens in life, bad things can happen. For one, you could end up in the in-patient care portion of your local mental-health system. At the very least, you’ll become that crabby, bitchy asshole we all work so hard to avoid. Or, both. And, wouldn’t that suck?
- Griping about the younger generation makes you sound the old geezer who yelled “GET OFF MY LAWN!” at you when you were a kid _ I constantly see things on-line extolling the virtues of the poster’s generation while denigrating the current one. It’s the new version of “Kids these days…” and it sounds just as bad to kids these days as did when old people said it to us.
Sure, these are just things rattling around in my head (and believe me, there’s plenty of room in there), but I keep telling everyone that if they would do what I say, the world would be a much better place. Strangely, nobody pays any attention when I say that.