Monday, August 13, 2007

How Am I So Bad?

I was having dinner with a friend this weekend, and I told them about a couple of e-mails I've received through this blog; some folks wrote me to tell me I was a racist, homophobic, and an all-around jerk.

He looked at me and asked, "Have you read your blog?"

I just let it drop, but it bugged me. I have read it, and I don't get how it could be construed as anything other than completely fair. I consider myself to be based on logic and compromise; I don't blindly follow any one political party. I do not judge people based on anything other than their actions and their character.

Really, his remark confused me. Granted, we're at opposite ends on a lot of social issues, so I have to consider that he might just be coming from the same place as the people that wrote to me.

I've thought about this constantly since then, and I think they -- and my friend -- are wrong. The scary part is the differences in how we view what I post here. I pretty much think that, no matter who you are, life in America is this:

You go to school, you try hard, you learn. You decide on a career path, you work hard, you succeed. You should go through life working hard and trying to be a good, considerate person.

And that's it. It's that simple. I expect from people what I expect from myself: work hard, don't commit crimes, be considerate of others, clean up after yourself, support yourself without taking from other people, teach your kids to be good people, and stand up for what is right and fair.

People that don't do those things, those are the people I don't like.

People that advocate for people who don't do those things aren't helping anyone, they're just helping to make things worse for everyone.

I don't see how expecting people to behave well makes me such a bad person.

2 comments:

elvis said...

You frequently take logical steps to arrive at frightening positions. People are bound to see just the frightening position and react viscerally to that. In an ideal world, they would all retrace your chain of logic to show how and where they diverge.

And there's also the matter of subjectivity in an argument ... For instance, you say,

I expect from people what I expect from myself: work hard, don't commit crimes, be considerate of others, clean up after yourself, support yourself without taking from other people, teach your kids to be good people, and stand up for what is right and fair.

Hard to argue with the sentiment, but reasonable people can disagree on the definitions of considerate, good, right, and fair. There can be debate about what constitutes hard work or crime.

I wouldn't worry about the knee jerks; engage those who address your ideas.

Al said...

Thanks for the comments, Elvis.
To be honest, the conclusions I come to sometimes actually scare me, too.