Just be decent.
December 3, 2021
I wrote this three years ago. I cannot tell you how many times I've fallen short of this message, my own message, since that time.
I have not been decent to Trump supporters. Yes, initially. I actually wanted to hear what they had to say. But then I got hard, and after a time, I started to hate. After the election, I made small steps towards reverting to my former tolerant attitude, but then the attempted coup on January 6th set me back further than I'd been ever.
I'm still on a media diet. It's helped, some. But videos by The Young Turks come up on my FaceBook feed, and I go there, sometimes I go there. And I always wished I hadn't. Well, not always. It's a "fix", so it feels good. But it's simply not healthy for me to consume. Not because I disagree with what they say, but precisely because I agree so strongly.
When COVID hit, and the anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists bloomed and flourished and took over the minds and hearts of such an incredibly large portion or our country, I was already deep in hate. I just let my disgust and anger feed my hate. I completely surrendered to it. Even to the degree I occasionally felt justified, all the while knowing I was not.
My heart is hard. I'm the person that I so implored others not to be, always urging them not to succumb. I fell into the trap - I don't think I even fell - I think I stepped into it with full knowledge and intent. I acknowledged and embraced defeat. I gave up trying to be decent. I do not like this about myself. Not at all.
I'm not sure how I'll get back to that place of tolerance and acceptance - that place I used to live. I don't love, I don't even want to love, but I want to want to love.
"Oh God, I don’t love you,
I don’t even want to love you,
but I want to want to love you!"
-St. Teresa of Avila
Adding a link to this podcast. My goal is to get back to this place. Deconstructing Trumpism with CNN’s Kirsten Powers.
December 2, 2018 Journal Entry
I had an awesome night out on the town. I met some incredibly interesting people, got into some deep philosophical discussions about happiness versus peace of mind with two men in their early 20s, one of whom looked like Jesus. It was simply a wonderful night filled with wonderful epiphanies and learnings and broadening of understanding and feelings of connectedness and love.
After the bar closed I went to Burger Boy, one of the only locally owned 24 hour burger joints in town, in fact probably the only one. I had a very long conversation with a wonderful trans woman my age.
I learn so much from people. They’re just living out their lives doing the best they can, putting one foot in front of the other. They bring such incredible richness to my existence. I only wish I could give them back all they give to me.
I am so blessed to be this woman in this body at this age in this town in this life walking this walk. My heart is just over flowing with love and joy right now at this moment. I am blessed beyond blessed. I thank God for the great honor of being alive in 2018 and being able to touch and be touched by the people I come into contact with in this crazy Louisville town.
And as I climbed into bed, I looked at the picture of my grandmother. My grandmother, who often would take a stand when she heard people speaking in a foreign language. She would literally go up to them and say, “You’re in the United States now, you need to speak English”. Of course the Asian folks she accosted with her message were very forgiving and very gracious. They actually tried to speak English with her on subsequent meetings. What gracious people they were to grant my 90-year-old grandmother such a courtesy.
I thought about what my grandmother might think about my having such a deep, intense, meaningful connection with the courageous and delightful trans woman at Burger Boy. The first thing that came to mind was my own voice saying, “It’s not hard to be kind to people if you make common decency your main goal. All it takes is common decency.”
And really that is what makes all of it work. If we can simply find things to value in one another, if we can simply choose, actively choose, to respect others, things work in concert. There is harmony.
So let us all make it our goal to connect with people in deliberately loving and kind ways. We all must to be nicer to one another if we want to effect positive change. Let us all rise to the occasion.
It’s not hard to be kind to people if you make common decency your main goal. All it takes is common decency.
Just be decent.