[Note: Today is day 7 of 10 in our annual Guest Blogger Series. Please remember: the Intramuralist may or may not agree with the opinion(s) expressed. The goal is respectful articulation.]
Catchy title – right?
With all the hoopla surrounding this book, a taboo to some, a guilty pleasure for others, to find a discussion of it here on this seemingly wholesome, cerebral blog, how controversial! To some this might be an opportunity to learn about something that normally they wouldn’t give the time of day. Others will simply turn away and deem it beneath them. Still others might welcome it as a chance to learn what all the fuss is about.
Well, sorry to disappoint, but this is not about the erotica sweeping the land via lonely housewives. This is about another brand of Gray. The one that dwells between the black and white of our current society, the one that, unfortunately, is also taboo, and the one we really need to be talking about.
I am, for one, all for having a belief system that a person is invested in – that you care enough about to defend, or at the very least one that carves out a way to live your life that is positive and beneficial to others. Grown out of your own up-bringing, faith and life experiences, however, what I fail to understand in our current society is the need by most to pass judgment on those whose beliefs are not in line with their own. The need to convince those with opposing opinions that they are wrong, for the simple reason that they are not the same as their own; note that I said “not the same” and not different.
Different is good; we have been taught to believe this phrase.
Not the same as me; well that’s another story.
Different is an obvious thing – it is geographical or educational or color. Different is the homeless man asking for a dollar on the corner, or the special needs teenager who bags groceries, or the girl from the south who says “y’all”. These are all excusable differences born out of circumstance beyond control.
Not the same as me is the man who doesn’t believe Global Warming to be the truth, or the mom who believes in spanking her children. Or the homosexual couple who desire to celebrate their relationship and legally commit themselves to one another. Those are choices, and if they are not the same as mine, then quite frankly, they are wrong. Or so goes the current party line on all sides.
They are the people who are as educated as I am, come from the same part of the country, might even have the same skin color and who, until they voice an opinion, or post something on their Facebook wall, I think are exactly like me. They should be – from the outside at least we are alike. How is it possible that they don’t believe as I do?
They have to be – we are the same. But somehow, we aren’t.
In our current society, it seems, that makes them wrong, or bad. If someone doesn’t line up 100% with our beliefs, then I oppose them. Period, end of story. No room for compromise, or discussion or debate. My side is right, yours is wrong. We can talk about it, but not in a way that is going to enlighten the opposition. There is no give and take, no understanding of why a person believes differently than I do. No “live and let live”.
There is my way, or the wrong way.
There is black and white.
There is no Gray.
What a tragedy. I really mean that and am not trying to be overly dramatic. That word is thrown around for remarkable events like war, and un-timely death, or the collapse of the Reds in the post season (that one’s for you, AR). But really, even at its smallest level, judgment of others is a tragedy, too.
It keeps us from having empathy for others, from understanding a different religion, or point of view. From having compassion for the NRA member who lost a loved one in Aurora, or the Atheist who commits suicide, or the pro-life mother faced with a pregnant teenager.
They weren’t the same as me, they got what they deserved. If they had only supported gun control, believed in my God, supported sex education in school, like I DO, if only.
It is a sad state we find ourselves in, my friends. When the only example of debate is shouting matches on cable news networks and belittling arguments on social media outlets. For most of us, our beliefs are so strong, it is hard to understand that anyone could believe as strongly in the opposition. But, they do, we are not all the same, and the things we could learn, about ourselves, our faith, our own morals, if only we’d do a little more listening and a little less shouting. Whether that is verbal shouting or the-oh-so-popular ALL CAPS SHOUTING, we must start listening to each other. Our differences are not as large as our problems in this country.
Bring back the compassion and understanding.
Bring back the educated debate and compromise.
Bring back the Gray.
[Intramuralist Note: 3.5 years ago, Jules helped provide the impetus for this blog; she sharpens me still today. For more on her professional creativity, check out her published, fictional repertoire: “These Darn Heels”, “Deja Who?” and the newly released “Try, Try Again”.]