A really startling thing has been happening around me in the past couple of weeks.
Perhaps it has always been going on, but being in Cortina, for a second year, constantly surrounded by hopeful discussion and work towards human dignity for all, has really illuminated this issue for me.
Perhaps it is because I hate the hypocrisy within myself so much that hypocrisy becomes for me the most heinous kind of action to observe in the world around me.
I’m sure someone will read this as SUPER preachy, obnoxious, and prying, and you should know that I’m totally open for discussion. Please come talk to me about this if it strikes any sort of chord with your soul, whether a pleasant one or not.
But I am going to say this now, because this issue has really become frustrating and confusing for me, and I want to say something about it to all of you, and maybe someone who agrees with me and wants to preach to the choir will read it, and I will make a new friend. On the other hand, maybe someone who totally disagrees with me will have the respect and courage for me to talk to me about it, and I will see something new from the opposite side that I never saw before. Or maybe I won’t, and we will agree to disagree. Hopefully we would be able to respect each other as people, outside of what we think of each others’ ideologies.
That last paragraph I wrote is coming from the best possible version of myself. I regularly become annoyed with people who do not see the world the same way I do, and only in my wildest dreams could I perfectly live up to the ideal I set for myself there. AHHH!!! This illustrates so perfectly the very thing that I needed to verbalize, and please know that it means I trust and respect all of you A LOT to be actually submitting this to the blog.
HERE’S THE ACTUAL POINT OF THIS BLOG POST:
The reactions to the Creightonian editorial letter from the Macklemore protestors, and a ton of Facebook comments that random ultra-conservative blog posts get when my friends post them to Facebook, just look like a complete lack of coherence in claims for tolerance and actual treatment of those different than us.
If we claim that we are fighting for the equality and dignity of all people, how does that give us any right to treat those who seem to oppose us in our “fight” as any less than whole people?
When racist, sexist, homophobic opinions are found by those around me, either on the Internet or elsewhere, they are thrown down with such fervor that the line between the opinion and the person who holds it is lost.
I wholeheartedly disagree with the Macklemore letter-writers’ opinion on gay marriage, and I want to make that clear, because any vagueness on my part would make you question my motives for writing this. But when a very diplomatic and well-written letter calling into question Creighton’s support of an artist on moral grounds was published by the Creightonian, some of the people that I love and respect, and most of the time agree with, responded in mean, spiteful, and personally insulting ways. Of equal importance, in my opinion, was the way that those students’ right to write about and publish their opinion was dangerously questioned and slammed down. Whenever a change is being implemented in society, there are going to be a wide range of opinions about it. Some may be blatantly wrong. Personally, again, I disagree with what they were asking Creighton for and why they were asking it, and I know that some super hypocritical stuff was found on that guy’s Twitter. But I’m not here to talk about that.
This is not an isolated event. Sometimes, when we live in the bubble of a Midwestern, justice-focused, liberal arts university, we forget just how much of the world of ideas lives outside this bubble. It’s been increasingly common for people I love (on BOTH sides of the polarized political spectrum), as well as generally fantastic websites like Upworthy, to use the Internet to post an article, blog, or piece of art made by someone of a very different worldview than their own, and then absolutely vilify that person for stating their opinion. Obviously, many of the people who comment on it are also shocked at the “backwardness” or racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. of the original writer. While I do think it is totally appropriate and necessary to discuss and even debate controversial and emotionally-charged topics that are often the focus of these articles, we cannot claim to be in support of human dignity and equal treatment when we dehumanize the people behind the opinions. It’s a matter of consistency, as well as just common decency (something that is increasingly lost in our social-media-crazed, politically polarized world).
People! We seriously don’t have to be a part of this craziness! We can be different. We can start something within our community where we don’t just have respectful discussions within our community, but have actually well-thought-out and respectful answers to opinions we don’t agree with. Diplomatic and sincerely kind but educated and strong. Isn’t that who we want to be in the end? There’s a balance there, and it hangs delicately. That’s certainly who I am hoping and trying to become. Because a world full of people like that is a world that’s actually going to move in a positive direction.