On Double Standards
I don’t like to talk politics for two reasons. First, it’s just not something I’m super passionate about. There are many other things I’d prefer to discuss. Secondly, most of my friends are conservative republicans, and while I describe myself as unaffiliated, I tend to lean to the left. Sharing my political views has often made me the recipient of scorn, anger, and rejection. And there are many other things I’d prefer to do than get yelled at because I buy into the whole global warming scam, or whatever.
Today I saw this car parked in a parking lot.
Bumper stickers from left to right read:
“fuck your tea party”
“Your prejudice is your own. Don’t blame God.”
“GOD is NOT a republican”
“Focus on your own family”
“When do I get to vote on YOUR marriage?”
My point here isn’t to talk about each individual issue. What stood out to me was the overarching theme and the hypocrisy that’s regarded as acceptable so long as it’s directed at a certain group.
I couldn’t help but put myself in this person’s position and wonder why they feel this way, wonder what he or she might be thinking. “How dare you tell me how to live my life or try to force your values on my family. How dare you tell me that your way is better, that it’s the only way. How dare you tell me how lost I am.” I get it. But at the same time they seem to be saying some of the same things. “Your way is wrong. My way is right.” Offering up the reminder, “judge not lest ye be judged” while in the same breath saying “fuck anyone who challenges my point of view,” as our Hyundai Sonata puts it.
What a double standard. And I’m not just talking about the left or the non-religious, I hear this attitude from conservatives and religious people all the time. It’s easy to talk about love and tolerance and an open discussion until you’re confronted by the people that you feel hated by, and then it’s ok to retaliate in kind. But that just doesn’t work.
I’m not saying people shouldn’t stand up for their rights and values and what they believe in. I’m not saying they don’t have every right to voice their opinions. But there’s a big difference between respectful political discourse (even when only one party is respectful) and retaliating against those who challenge you. Look at how Martin Luther King, Jr. did it. Look at how Ghandi did it. Look at how Jesus did it. And then explain why fighting hate with more hate is a better way.
Remember Westboro Baptist Church? God, I look forward to the day that no one remembers who they are. I won’t post any pictures of their signs, you can google them if you have to. Anyway, I remember seeing a news spot about a gay and lesbian rights group that set up a booth across the street from where Westboro was picketing, and they were taking donations to support their cause. I’ll never forget the guy they interviewed- not just his words but the tone of his voice, the look on his face. It wasn’t hatred, or anger, neither was it submission or shame. He didn’t have an unkind word to say about the people who were shouting in the background, he just explained that he was trying to make good out of an ugly situation. He decided to fight hate with peace, and his organization raised an absurd amount of money that day.
No matter what you believe in, you won’t get anywhere with mere words. It’s time to start backing them up with actions. Don’t want to be judged? Believe everyone has a right to their opinion? Think everyone has equal value? Then live it yourself, even- no, especially- when it’s not easy. As I stated in my last post, the times it’s hardest to stick to your values are the times it’s most important.