This week I listened to my girlfriend as she unburdened her heart about her boyfriend.
She likes him, but his behavior…not so much.
You see, her boyfriend is an ultra-conservative Christian and an ultra-conservative Republican. He keeps getting temporarily suspended from Facebook for making “offensive” comments about politics and religion.
The recent flooding in Baton Rouge sparked another round of angry posts. He posted about Obama’s failure to show up in Baton Rouge and what he interpreted as Obama’s lack of concern about the flooding and damage, the loss of lives and homes. Fair enough. He complained that instead of visiting Baton Rouge, Obama was busy golfing and vacationing. Fair enough.
And then he finished his post by stating that after golfing Obama went home to (have gay sex with a “wife” that is actually a man in drag.) I refrained from quoting this man directly because the words are inflammatory and incredibly inappropriate. Not surprisingly, Facebook suspended his account again.
Lately, Facebook has been rife with comments like what this man posted. My uncle has posted similar things in the past because he is also ultra-conservative on multiple fronts. Posts like these bother me on so many levels I don’t even know where to begin. I despair of ever attaining real, meaningful dialogue about our presidential election with people who don’t already agree with my viewpoint. I despair of getting the American populace to focus on what is truly important and not on petty opinions that mean nothing to the problem at hand.
As much as the world doesn’t need me to monitor its Facebook posts, it’s time to speak up about what I see as truly reprehensible behaviors that don’t reflect true Christian faith and don’t reflect the better nature of the American people.
First, if you are going to make a political statement or complaint, could you stick to the point? If you don’t like Obama’s choices, then complain about his choices—not his marriage, or what his wife looks like, or whether he chose to have some leisure time instead of working 24/7 (because that’s an unrealistic expectation that you couldn’t attain either). Stick to the point…because your point could potentially be valid and be an opening for real political dialogue. I am tired of complaints that make it evident that the person is not actually seeking to express valid criticism of the President or of our political process, but is instead just throwing negative categories out there that supposedly make Obama bad…gay…black…married to a man…Muslim…socialist…BAD! Those kinds of comments don’t change anything and they don’t highlight what might need to change (unless you count the bad behavior of the commentator.) As I understand the United States, we have a couple of freedoms—speech, voting—that make it possible to change things for the better. You are free to exercise those freedoms any way that you want, but it would be a real shame if you wasted your freedom of speech on your right to say outrageous and hateful things that change nothing but whether or not I am going to unfriend you on Facebook.
Having said what I think are relatively rational things, I’d like to criticize some of the useless dialogue that passes for political posts on Facebook. In case you were wondering, I am about to rant just a little and yes, I will be opinionated. You have been warned.
Michelle Obama is not an extension of the President…stop treating her like she is a reflection on him. For God’s sake, the woman is his wife, not his kneecap or his left arm or the frontal lobe of his brain. She is the First Lady and therefore a representative of the United States, and her actions and words are subject to commentary just like the President’s actions and words are subject to scrutiny and commentary. Sadly, what I hear from conservatives is that she looks like a man and is not pretty; some have gone so far to suggest she is a man in drag. Really? What you think about Michelle Obama’s looks is meaningless. What you think about her body is meaningless. What you think about how she dresses is meaningless. God did not make women for you to pick them apart and rate them like you would an automobile. God did not make women for YOU to tell them how to dress or how to walk or how to express themselves as if you alone determine if a woman is acceptable. The only people who are legitimately able to judge a women are God and the woman herself…because that’s who she belongs to: God and herself and that’s it. No one actually needs to publicly comment on the body of another person unless you are a sports commentator talking about an athlete losing weight or bulking up to improve their performance in their sport…and then you are actually discussing their performance. Human bodies are not for commentary. It doesn’t matter whether the body belongs to the President’s wife, or Donald Trump’s wife, or your neighbor’s daughter, or neighbor’s son either. Human beings are NOT objects to be rated for attractiveness or whether or not they meet your approval.
Being successful does NOT entitle you to have a beautiful partner and failing to have a beautiful partner does NOT indicate that you are not actually successful. Essentially folks—women are not a reward for accomplishment. Neither are beautiful men. According to our culture, raises and riches are rewards for accomplishment. Medals are a reward for accomplishment. Acclaim and fame are rewards for accomplishment. Human beings are not rewards for accomplishment. Just because some rich people choose to trade in their current partner (usually a wife) for a younger and more beautiful partner does not make that behavior acceptable or laudable. The idea that being successful entitles someone to a younger and more beautiful version of their current partner reduces human beings to possessions that can be attained. There’s a reason why we use the phrase “Trophy Wife” and it is disgusting. Human beings are not a reward for accomplishment.
Neither sexuality or religion (or any other non-related topic) renders the person incapable and invalid as a human being. Making disparaging comments about someone’s sexuality or religion or disability (add in your own categories here) is not justification for your dissatisfaction with their performance on their job or their performance as a politician. I’m betting that the folks who find themselves trapped in a burning building don’t bother to ask the firefighter who is coming to save them if the firefighter is gay or what their religious preference happens to be…probably because at that moment, most people just want to be rescued. Likewise, most folks don’t ask the doctor who treats them in the ER if the doctor is Christian or if the doctor agrees with their political views or if the doctor also rejects the same categories of people and behavior that they reject. The truth is that we interact with hundreds of people every day without knowing what their sexual preference or religious preferences are. We don’t know if they are liberal or conservative. We don’t know if they believe in home schooling. We don’t know if they support gun control. In the end…we don’t bother to know because it doesn’t impact that person’s ability to do whatever it is that we need them to do. I’m betting that all of us have encountered more gay people, Muslims, and transgendered persons than we have ever realized…and sometimes those gay, Muslim, and transgendered folks have been our coworkers, neighbors, and friends. Statements about Obama being gay or Muslim have absolutely nothing to do with his effectiveness as president, any more than Hillary being short or Trump having a comb-over is going to have any impact on their ability to lead the country. Stop calling people who disagree with you libtards, wingnuts, freaks, or fascists. Stop using inflammatory statements as a way of shoring up your negative opinion of someone. It’s okay to say “I really don’t like that political leader…they don’t do what I think they should.” While others may want you to justify your opinions, don’t bother. Opinions aren’t science. Really…you can simply have an opinion and not justify it at all.
I guess what I want more than anything is the chance to have real, meaningful dialogue where no one yells and no one starts throwing around hate-language. I have a number of good friends who are on the opposite side of the political spectrum and it’s amazing how many things we actually agree on—especially when it comes to identifying the problems. We spend time talking about what we think might work as a solution to the problem and why we think it might work…and we often don’t agree. The funny thing is that we still get along; we still work side by side…and we respect each other more than I can explain.
The bad behavior has got to stop!! It isn’t getting our nation anywhere, and it makes us look like a bunch of uneducated bullies who are fighting for the right to be the biggest bully on the playground. I refuse to play. I suggest you refuse to play as well.