In the last month or so, we’ve seen some really big changes happen in this country. Hell, in one month’s time, the ACA was upheld, marriage equality became the law of the land and, perhaps most shocking of all, South Carolina removed the Confederate flag from their statehouse grounds. Now, for some of us, these changes are a breath of fresh air and long overdue. For others? Not so much. Our conservative brothers and sisters have taken some hard hits in the last few weeks and their a bit shaken. When you stop and think about it, that’s a lot of change in a very short time. It doesn’t help that those changes struck at some their core beliefs. Or, that they seemed to be totally unprepared for any of it.
I’m not sure why they didn’t see this coming, More and more, polls show the United States is leaning increasing to the left, so it shouldn’t have been that much of a surprise. Evidently, getting all your news from Fox News is akin to burying your head in the sand.
But, our friends, neighbors and family members are struggling to function now that poor people can get medical care somewhere other than the emergency room (and without the risk of bankruptcy in the process), discriminating against someone because they’re gay is no longer possible (well, on marriage. You can still shit on them when it comes to employment, housing and junk like that); and symbols that offend a significant portion of the population (even white folks don’t understand why) are taken down. These folks need our help. So, I’ve come up with a handy dandy guide to help you help them navigate this strange, new world.
It’s nice and simple and consists of one sentence:
Don’t be a dick
Now, you may be wondering how this would work, so let’s look at a couple of examples. Say, you’re sitting in the breakroom with a co-worker and they start talking about how the Confederate flag doesn’t stand for racism, it’s their heritage, yada, yada, yada. When this happens, just get their attention and say, “(insert name here), you’re being a dick. Don’t be a dick.” If they wonder how their behavior could be possibly be construed as dickish, point out to them that just because they don’t see the flag as racist doesn’t mean others have to agree with them. See how easy that is? Okay, let’s look another example. This time, it’s your brother-in-law going off about how “letting the gays get married is going to ruin this country”. Again, get his attention and say, “(insert name here), you’re being a dick. Don’t be a dick.” Again, you may get a little pushback and have to explain that no one is “letting” LGBT+ people get married, their rights as U. S. citizens have finally been recognized in this particular case. If he persists, ask him how this is going to destroy the country. With a little luck, that should bring the conversation to a screeching halt.
You know, come to think of it, “Don’t be a dick” is good advice for progressive people, too. What, you don’t think progressives can be jerks? Au contraire, mon frere, we progressives can be amazingly condescending and snarky (read a few of my posts if you don’t believe me). But, how would “Don’t be a dick” be applied in this situation? Maybe the same way. Or maybe, it could a form of self-policing. Like, if someone who has been foursquare against same-sex marriage has a change of heart and you want to respond “Took you long enough” or “Great, here’s a cookie”, but you don’t. Why? Because you don’t want to be a dick. Or, when someone starts in on the flag or people in poverty getting “free” healthcare and you want to yell “CHECK YOUR PRIVILEGE!” and you decide not to because, you guessed, that would be a dick move. Sure, it’s a little harder than giving in to your baser instincts, but it fits in with that whole “Love your neighbor” thing a lot better.