We Must Preserve Our Humanity

W

I posted something from a Facebook memory the other day. Much of it wasn’t relevant anymore. With a little editing, though, it is appropriate for today.

I am APPALLED by the things people are willing to say.

Yes, we must resist. Yes, I stand against everything he stands for. Yes, we must fight back from a place of strength.

However, posting memes suggesting that people die in horrific ways or denigrating people for their physical appearance is NOT A PLACE OF STRENGTH. That is weak. It shows no character. It shows an inability to fight back effectively.

Resist, be strong..but don’t lose your humanity. If we all fall down this well of nastiness, then there is truly no hope for us.

EDITED TO ADD: I am not suggesting that I’ve never been guilty of that behavior. I have and I’m sorry.

I’m not saying that I will never say something that is too harsh or has no value. But I am trying. I try to give more thought to my words. But that in no way should suggest that we shouldn’t fight back. We should.

Ignoring bad behavior or being polite all the time doesn’t work. We should call people out for hurtful behaviors. We should loudly protest injustice. I’m just saying that if we do fight, it should matter. It should be productive. I am appalled when I see people share memes or thoughts about people denigrating them for their weight. When we denigrate one overweight person, we denigrate them all. That is cruel and uncalled for and doesn’t help anyone.

We have to preserve our humanity.

We must.

I know it is hard to read story after story that rips your heart out.

At Christmas, we learned another child died in our custody.

We know  hundreds of thousands of our brothers and sisters don’t know how they’re going to make rent this month because of the shutdown.

I understand anger and frustration. I do. It feels like those feelings are my constant companions. Anger and frustration.

There is so much vileness on social media. I see people post the most cruel and mocking pictures, denigrating a fellow human’s weight humanityor face or age. And these are people who I otherwise agree with. These are people who are resisting.

I cannot stress how important it is to fucking cut this shit out. Seriously. Stop.

I am resisting because my government is putting people in concentration camps and children are dying. I resist because people of color are systemically oppressed. I resist because people of color are shot and killed at alarming rates. I resist because I see video after video of white people harassing and abusing people of color. What the fucking fuck, white women? Why are we in so many of these fucking videos? 

I resist because people are dying every day because they can’t afford healthcare. I am resisting because our planet is dying and we have so little time to turn shit around. I resist because our children are being murdered in their classrooms. I resist because there are too many people willing to facilitate the death of our planet and the death of our children.

You know what kind of person does that? One with no fucking humanity.

We must preserve ours.

If we don’t, we are lost.

Consider your words.

Do not refer to people you oppose as less than human.

This is what evil humans do. They dehumanize. They dehumanize because it is easy to discard what is not human.

We must be better than this.

Consider the impact you have when you body shame or mock people for being ugly or old.

You know who resists? Old people. Heavy people. Ugly people. If you are going to point and laugh, you can’t look at your neighbor and claim “Oh, I didn’t mean you.” It doesn’t ring true.

Resist. Resist loudly. Cause a scene. Go to protests.

Fucking resist.

But for all that is holy, keep your humanity.

We’re all counting on it.

 

Photo by Helena Lopes from Pexels.

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34 comments

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  • I imagine I am on the opposite side of the political fence. But I agree. The nastiness has to stop. I have probably also been guilty to a point, but I really try to rein in what I see as humour, but is pretty crude and rude. I try not to share that on social media.

  • My friends and I were talking about this on our annual New Year’s Day beach walk. There is an element of cruelty that has taken hold in our country. It’s okay, more than okay, encouraged, to make fun of people, call them names, laugh at their expense. I don’t want to generalize, but I personally see it a lot more from my friends on the right than my friends on the left. Compassion, feelings, concern, care . . . these are ideas that are laughed at and shamed. I try to be the better person. I try to go high. But I’m not perfect, and quite frankly, He Who Must Not Be Named brings a lot of it on himself. But if I’m going to survive this, if we are all going to survive this, we need to hold our heads high and campaign for truth, for respect, for love. If not, why are we even here?

    • Exactly and yes, I think there is more hatefulness coming from the right..but the left isn’t without fault. I hate to see how quickly people with whom I am resisting are to make fun of people’s looks or age. I’m not saying I’ve never done it. I have. And that behavior did NOTHING to move us forward. We must move forward.

      And we all have to live with each other when it’s over.

      And it is SUPER hard not to run down the fake president.

  • I just posted this to Facebook. It resonates completely with me. As much as I deplore the asshat in charge, I’m saddened by any going low to fight him and his followers. We have to take the high road. It’s truly the only path outta here.

    • I agree. I don’t think we should be quiet. And I see no reason to not be blunt or to directly call out bad behavior…but it must fall short of attacking people for physical reasons. That gets us nowhere.

  • Amen.

    As a side note my best friend in the USA (who is black), and even though she is a doctor sees systemic racism every day….she convinced me to buy a VR headset. It arrives today.

    We are going to go swim with dolphins or something. And escape this world.

    I will protest tomorrow. And loudly.

    In the mean time the ocean should be wonderful. 🙂

  • This is a good reminder.

    I slip up sometimes, too, but I also believe that the world we want to create is largely determined by the means we use to get there, and if we engage in this sort of crap when confronting people we don’t like… well, yeah.

    And then what if we don’t get where we want to be but we’re being jerks while trying to get there? Then we’re just jerks.

  • So well said. You put the right words to something that has been causing me frustration lately. I get the need to vent about horrific behaviors and policies, but name-calling alone, really ANY name calling, isn’t going to get us anywhere. I was a moderator for a liberal Facebook page and I took myself off a month ago. Most of my time was spent kicking trolls off the site, for name-calling and denigrating liberal positions with FOX News talking points, and the rest was watching people basically calling conservatives names in the comments section of provocative memes. Body shaming and race baiting are obvious lines of cruelty, but blind hatred and hand-waving is soul bruising too. Making a safe place (online) to bash others, even if it is a sentiment I share, is a waste of energy. Hate a policy? Find out who to contact, set up a calling campaign or write letters – better yet – show up at a reps office with a lot of friends. Disagree with local policies that let those insane white women get away with making 911 calls on a pool party full of black neighbors? Go to city council meetings, or run yourself and be a squeaky wheel! Take your kids to protests, and mail letters of support to victims and politicians who do the right thing. Find out how your current state and federal representatives have been voting and vote them back in or out. Show your kids how government actually works. Shouting “those people are fucking slime” under a picture of Neo-Nazis on Facebook is useless (except to Facebook, who will then stream more liberal content your way). DO something. What if you invite your conservative neighbor to coffee, without discussing politics? What if you humanize yourSELF in their eyes, so when they’re tempted to generalize, you’ve put a human, decent face on the “enemy” and it shakes their easily targeted image of “snowflake, liberal elites?” One of the most effective strategies I know for defeating an enemy, is to remove the target. If you cannot be targeted, they cannot hit you and they lose their effectiveness. I was at a wedding on New Year’s Eve, full of people who I know for sure are hard-core conservatives, but I was determined to have a good time. So we danced our asses off, drank together and enjoyed ourselves. To be fair, the way I danced, I did not dispel any illusions of me being the crazy aunt from CA, but I let them see that letting go could be fun and took them with me!

  • It’s also kinda lazy, when you think about it. I could easily exceed the character limit (4096, I believe) in this comment box listing the actual harmful policies Republicans are trying to enact and why they should be stopped without even once calling them any names they don’t call themselves.
    That does not mean I never resort to invective online, but I try to avoid gratuitous insults and the sort of shaming you speak of so well.
    If I sometimes have harsh words for the Republican voting base, I at least try to make them factual and not cheap or shallow personal attacks.
    Basically, I don’t care what you look like or how much you weigh, but I do in fact care whether you support taking my health insurance away, and I will in fact call you an asshole if you do.
    Full disclosure: My writing voice is different for different venues online, and I make an honest effort to be appropriate for the situation.
    I believe we must pull together and make the most of the opportunity we have as of this morning, when our hard won Democratic house of representatives are being sworn in.
    Support the real-world stuff and you can foster the change we want and need, like whats happening in DC at this very moment.
    Also, alienating people doesn’t help, they’ll do enough of that on their own, usually. Some old white dude named Roger said something forty years ago that I keep coming back to: “Together we stand, divided we fall.”

    • EXACTLY. If someone is an asshole, then they’re an asshole. No need to broadly denigrate people with insults about appearance. Focus on the behavior. That’s what matters. The package we are in is meaningless and running people down based on physical appearance is just vile.

      And I’ve done it before. I’m working on that.

  • As usual, you are RIGHT ON Sister!! Very well said. Thank you. I think you are way more intelligent than you give yourself credit for sometimes. I’m going to “toast” to you this evening, because I just want to.

  • Thank you Michelle, once again you have hit on exactly what has been really bothering me. As you so often do. Big hugs to you in these often overwhelmingly difficult times.

  • Yes, yes, yes. Occasionally I remember that line about obituaries that’s been attributed to Mark Twain–it turns out he never said it, and the original quote from Clarence Darrow is, “I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction.” And even that makes me uncomfortable. As much as I may disagree with someone their life still means something to someone.
    And you’ve reminded me of a thought I had just a couple of days ago. I was watching the PBS program about the New Horizons spacecraft and its mission to fly by an asteroid way out past Pluto. There were several shots of a whole auditorium of people watching live updates and I was happy, although not surprised, by how diverse the crowd was. It really reflects how something so far away can bring people together.

  • One of the community pages I am on in our little town has a ‘no political posts’ rule. A post about Kate Brown “Oregon to spend 4M to sue Trump: Defend illegal aliens” was posted by an admin, so it was allowed to stay as a ‘news source for locals who don’t get news any other way.’ :/
    (…ummm…’K)
    Words like ‘libtard’ and ‘republicon’ are bullying words, yet allowed to be in the comments. However, suggesting someone deport themselves was met with a ‘no personal attacks’ comment by admin.
    Our froggy is slow cooking and words are evolving from ‘covert aggressive’ insults to out and out accepted usage 🙁
    Pretty soon, random human slapping won’t be a video prank that we react to in horrified fascination, but just a normal way to treat someone who ‘offends you.’
    I too, am appalled by the number of educated, financially stable WHITE women in these ‘those people scared me’ videos. How are we ever supposed to establish respect for our status and admiration for our gender (and ALL it’s tangents 🙂 ) when we are being so misrepresented and the vids are capturing our least reliable members at their worst?
    (Remember when ALL stoners were couch surfing, lazy-ass, workless drifters? That’s how it feels for women’s advocates – we’re going down the old druggie path 🙁 and they are purposeful in selecting our ‘best examples’ :/ )
    aaarrgghhh…..
    Thank you for taking the time to point out the discrepancies… and I love Doug and Chris’ viewpoints, they always have the ideal male (human – so we’re not splitting hairs, but you know what I mean 😉 ) input and I feel very fortunate to ‘know’ them 🙂

  • My two bits…

    Remember the good ol’ days when we only had one or two massive shocks per generation? The Kennedy Assassination for my parents; the Challenger explosion for us; for MY kids, it was 9/11… and since then, it’s been one mass shooting after the next. Two years ago a bunch of folks got killed in Ft. Lauderdale’s airport and I only heard about it TODAY.

    The Luby’s Massacre was such a big deal it got a name.

    “Going Postal…” a term coined after a gunman shot up a post office in Edmond. I was in-state at the time; I had family who lived in Edmond.

    Nowadays, so many it no longer registers…we can’t say #neverforget anymore because there are too many to keep track of.

    We are being terrorized by sensational media, and responding with violence and fear

    Our elected officials are either manipulating that fear for personal or political gain, or standing idly by and watching it unfold with clutched pearls.

    We’ve been made lazy. All these devices over the last 70 years, designed to give us more “free time,” yet here we all are, tethered to electronics while the world, literally, slowly burns.

    All that free time, and hardly any uncontaminated nature to spend it in. All your debt, and for what? A bunch of stuff we don’t need.

    We are all roommates on Planet Earth. As frats in the Universe go, we are the rowdy bunch, the Delta Tau Chi of OUR solar system, certainly. We come in, get loud and obnoxious, leave all the lights on and trash the place.

    But we also brought music. And I like to think we can learn to at least TRY to keep some places looking neat and orderly, even if the second floor is completely trashed.

    This is our SHARED home. It belongs to every known living creature.

    We need to start living like that matters. Dead or alive, we are all going to be stuck here together. Might as well keep the peace

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