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Monday, May 4, 2009

Those Who Judge…

Hatred, I’ve learned, can come in pretty packages... And often it’s cloaked in ways that make it more than pretty, angelic even. It’s scary how many people have some elemental quality they hate in another human being, and that person or that quality often never intersect in any way. So where does the hatred come from? Psychologists would say it’s an innate fear of being the hated, but perhaps it’s a deeper chasm forming in our country.

I find it disturbing how divisive we’ve become. Our nation has gone extreme, on both sides, and that leaves most of us who hover in the middle left to wonder…why are we all so quick to judge, to hate, to try so hard to tell others how they should live? We knock anyone who doesn’t worship our God; we spit on anyone who loves a person we’re disgusted with; we feel compelled to judge to the point of hatred. And I use the pronoun loosely. I’m not an atheist, nor agnostic. I was saved and baptized when I was in junior high, but I subscribe first to the adage, “Take out your mirror before getting out the magnifying glass.” I believe that’s what God wants – for us to live a good life, to be good people, to be a good example for all those watching us. What message do we send kids when we pass judgment on others? No matter another person’s crime, no matter their indiscretions, their beliefs, their sins, it’s not for us to say. I cringe when I hear an outspoken Bush-hater, even more when I listen to a blind Bush-worshipper. We are no longer allowed to have our own unspoken beliefs, no longer left alone if we announce an allegiance to one side or the other. Instead, both sides insist on converting us, saving us from ourselves, even if we don’t want or need saving.

Just once I’d like to be able to say, “I voted for…” or “I think everyone should be allowed to marry…” or “The war in Iraq is…” without getting an earful of hatred from someone on the opposing side. As we’ve become so obsessed with being PC, we’ve also gotten too opinionated to carry on a real conversation about a heated issue. If we want our kids to form opinions of their own, how can we show them that if none of us ever really listens? How do we teach tolerance when a huge majority don’t practice it?

How will we change narrow-minded views if only the open-minded are paying attention? If we’re only preaching to the choir, then does that mean the choir doesn’t have a mind of their own?

To anyone out there who truly cringes at the thought of their child marrying someone of a different race, the same sex, or a card-carrying member of a different religion, why do you think you feel that way? Just once, stop and think about it, take a look at yourself, and ask, Why do I judge someone who has nothing against me?

We should all subscribe to the adage, “Take out your mirror before getting out the magnifying glass.” It would be a great place to live if we really judged not.