What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

14 July 2011

Is It So Hard?

So I have a few rant-y posts all stored up inside me for your reading irritation. We'll start with the easy one: Why does our culture make "different" such a fight?

The sun breaks through the clouds...
if only.  Source.
Seriously. You prefer books over movies? Weirdo. You'd rather be single than married? Dork. You are putting off buying a house? Immature. You don't want to drive an SUV? Freak. And those are the smaller, individual things. We all know how well we act on the biggies: That we (this would be the all-encompassing 'we') had to have a Civil Rights Movement instead of actually living out the "all men are created equal" that we thought was important enough to put in the Declaration of Independence, for crying out loud, is a disgrace. That our society regulates who can get married and who cannot based on sexual preference-- as if that's anyone's business but the concerned parties-- is an embarrassment. (Yes. I said it. Conservative friends, feel free to turn away in horror.)

Why, oh why, can we not live and let live? You don't approve of my lifestyle? Fine. Walk away and you don't have to see it. I don't approve of yours? I'll do the same. See how easy that was?

I tend to get started down this road because I'm a cyclist, which everyone knows is crazy-weird, and many drivers have no qualms about getting on the internet to shout about how wrong it is that they have to share their space with cyclists. And if the internet isn't enough, these people will go to town meetings or-- even worse-- drive in such a way as to intimidate cyclists. But cycling is only one small example out of many. And even if we get past cyclists v drivers, or one race v another, or gay marriage, I'm sure there will be another issue on the horizon.

Two questions today; answer either or both. What does your culture do that drives you crazy? What would your ideal "living in harmony" look like?

16 comments:

Elizabeth Twist said...

Word. As to why people judge each other so harshly and with so much pettiness, I suspect a broad cultural brainwashing. People who buy into the game (being good little consumers, conforming to standards of appearance and normality) get genuinely angry at people who have somehow managed to escape parts of the program. I suspect there's a boiling insecurity at the base of those judgements: you mean I didn't *have* to buy an SUV / a brand new house / the most expensive clothes? I could have stayed out of debt, or had less debt, and done something else instead? In terms of judgements about sexuality...well, you have to wonder what bubbling insecurities are underlying those.

Su said...

Well said! I wonder if there's something in our collective brain that remembers the time when the welfare of the whole group depended on every individual doing exactly the same thing. I still believe that the well-being of humanity depends on every person, but not quite in the same way, you know? We can be different as we go around not killing each other.

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Living in harmony would entail everyone having the same consideration for others happiness, health, safety as they do for their own. In this day of me, me, me...I don't see that happening. Those of us willing to make the sacrifice required to live peacefully will have to form our own country which will be immediately taken over by the rest of the world cause being peaceful folk we won't have an army. Thus the invisible world of the blogger where those of us who agree to agree live peaceably with each other. I pronounce this "Blogland" the home of the gentle and caring.

....Petty Witter said...

Many of our behaviour/attitudes towards those with a 'disability' annoys me. Not wishing to rant and rave (I may well do that in another post) I always question in my mind just how much an individual is disabled and how much society disables them. A big difference when you think about it.

Su said...

@Delores: Blogland-- where you can be who you are. (Unless who you are is a jerk. In that case, go back to Regularland.)

@Petty: That's another disgraceful point of society. And yeah, definitely a difference.

JEFritz said...

My ideal society is one where people accept everyone, regardless of differences. Unless that difference is something like violence or cruelty.

I just don't like how everyone has to divide people into us-versus-then. "You don't believe every little thing I do? FIEND!" People want to force others to do what they want rather than compromise and work towards a common goal. Like, say, wider roads to include a bike lane that is a safe distance from the car lanes (I swear, I have a heart attack every time I pass a cyclist; I can only imagine what the rider feels).

Su said...

Usually a gush of air, if my experience is any judge. And yeah, we're so locked into ingroup/outgroup. I wish I had a solution locked up in here somewhere. :/

Rebecca Bany said...

I like that 'live and let live' idea. That would be nice.
By the way, I think it's awesome that you are a cyclist. Seeing cyclist out and about inspires me! Thanks.
www.rebeccabany.com

KimberlyJ said...

Yes, you make sense. I think I agreed with everything you said here. I too don't understand all the fuss over gay marriage... I could really give a crap if Joe and Bob next door are roommates, lovers or married... none of my business, just like it's none of their business that I'm divorced. The problem I have about cycling is that our town doesn't have bike lanes and people drive like idiots up here. I don't bike, but I admire those that do. So, Question 1. I can't stand that my culture feels they are superior to others and that MORE is better. I don't get it. 2. Living in harmony would be accepting other opinions and learning from them, not being so hateful when others don't see things as you. I don't get that either.

Su said...

@Rebecca: I think it would be nice, too. And thanks! I love seeing other cyclists as well. I don't like seeing cyclists break the law or act like idiots, but hey, some people are going to act dumb no matter what they drive, I guess. :/

@Kimberly: Totally agree with both answers! We'd be much better off if we could all mind our own business. Sometimes I think we have the "mind your own business" thing backwards; we (as a society) will wade in to dumb stuff but ignore serious things (domestic violence, people who genuinely need help, etc.) because "it's not my business". Why are we so backward??

Tammy said...

This is so timely. I was JUST having a mad, watch-the-top-of-my-head-blow-off disgusted rave at the TV last night watching Michele Bachmann and her husband blast off against gay marriage with such ignorant prejudice...the level of hopeless frustration I feel in the face of such hatred often makes me break into tears. Angry tears.

Su said...

Word. Why are we even arguing over this?? If nothing else (and this is a purely practical standpoint), the more people who get married, the more money the state gets from marriage licences. Aren't we in a funding shortage right now anyway? And from a human standpoint, it's even more "duh" that it's time to get over it and stop being jerks.

Karen Peterson said...

I don't care who wants to marry whom. But I really think it's not an issue that should be decided from one state to the next. I think this is something that needs to be decided at the national level. This needs to be a country that allows gay marriage or doesn't. But having the option of going to some states and not others, and then having marriages recognized in some states and not others just creates a whole big mess.

Su said...

'Tis true. As if we don't have enough messes. :/

And you know, after I mini-ranted the other day and all you intelligent people came round with various degrees of agreement, I got to read an argument b/t a Tea Partier and some liberals on Twitter today. And what were they doing? Calling one another names. Yeah, that'll work.

KimberlyJ said...

Su, I hear you on the name calling thing. I see that all over the internet. I think people get detached and are thinking that it's just a computer, and not realizing that there is a human being on the other end. I made the mistake of leaving a comment on a popular news page regarding a current controversal political issue, thinking I was going to take part in a great discussion. instead I was called terrible names, my daughter was called terrible names, and threats of death and other horrible things were said to me and her. I felt sick and scared and it bothered me for days. If that person were standing in front of me saying those things I would have called 911. I will never do that again... these blogs that I visit seem safer, and I like that I can voice my opinion without receiving death threats.

Su said...

Oh, my goodness. Open comment sections on the internet are the worst! I've never once taken part in one outside of blogs that I regularly read, and when I let my eye stray down to them, I always regret it. You're right: Having a computer between me and a person makes it so much easier to be horrible. I wish it didn't.

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