Tag Archives: #culturewars

Toleration and Other Radical Thoughts

I demand fluffy! Fluffy rights now! Equal access to fluff! Free the fluff!

If you follow me, you have probably clued into the fact that I’m a Democrat. And I have my own set of beliefs and ethics cobbled together from Carl Sagan, Camus, The Beatles, Quakerism, Star Wars and Star Trek, to name a few. That I struggle with mental health issues, and have a thing for history, film, and culture (and Morrissey 😁).

That may all seem very bland and vanilla to some, or radically Socialist or anti-religious, even Satanic, to others, and straight up weird to a few more. Well, I’m here to say that I like you all anyway. Because I believe in that most radical of ideas: toleration.

Do I think the “good of the many” mindedness of Socialism is in line with our human need for community? Yep. Do I see the benefits of free enterprise, individualism, and personal liberty? Totally.

At a time when everyone is alt, hard, or radical something, I catch hate for the the “D” on my voter registration card from left and right. While it seems whoever shouts loudest wins, I am probably the most radical person I know. Why? Because I want to like you. I want to be a good person. I hope you’ll be a good person back.

Look, I have had harassment charges successfully brought against my own neighbors over the “Culture Wars.” My Fiance gambled his 401k on a move to another state to escape the persecution. And I still have a helluva civil case against York Hospital and the YARPD. But none of this was due to the people in my community liking Donald Trump. They did it because they are assholes. Period. Trump was their excuse.

No one has to fall all over themselves to love every alternative lifestyle. You don’t have to like any particular culture. Or agree with every Twitter-crowd mood. All we owe to our fellow human beings in a free society is toleration. So long as the gay couple next door doesn’t rob your house, kill your dog, punch you in the face, or murder your grandmom, you just have to learn to deal with it. Gay couples exist. Black people exist. Country music fans exist. If they’re not hurting you, learn to be OK with difference.

No one is forcing you to appreciate hip hop or Blue Grass. But it exists, and it’s just music. Deal with it. That’s all.

It’s staggeringly simple. And every culture since we started this whole living together in groups thing has had one simple rule. Call it the Golden Rule, or whatever ever you like. Treat people as you wish to be treated. We are all separated by about 2 tenths of a percent from each other genetically. That’s the DNA. That’s the science. That’s the truth.

And we all want basically the same things. To be liked. To belong. To live a life of dignity with personal meaning. To have friends and family who care about us. You don’t need a weapon of war to do that. And you don’t need to understand what would make a person decide their internal gender doesn’t match their external bits. All you have to do is be kind, take people as they come, and nobody steals from, harms, kills, abuses or rapes each other.

No one is asking you to feel guilt, although I’m rather ashamed of my historically wrong-headed Hungarian heritage. (Really? You’re siding with the fascist aggressors again, Hungary!?) But would it kill ya to see things from the other person’s perspective? Especially if, ya know, someone is more likely to die younger than yourself, have bad health, be raped, land in jail, be killed by violence, be killed by their spouse, live in poverty, commit suicide, or get beaten to a pulp for existing? (Hint: It won’t kill you. But you might learn a thing.)

But on the other hand, please don’t pile labels on me. I’m down to hear your story. You can tolerate that mine exists as well. Remember your Avenue Q kids! “Everyone’s a little bit racist.” The Chinese hate the Japanese for their brutality during WWII. Poland is wary of Germany and Russia because they ceased to exist as a nation several times because of those two. And, yeah, sorry Germany, nobody believes you “knew nutzing.” And folks are still fighting over whose God is right.

You know what? If there is an Almighty Power in the Universe, I hope They have better things to do than worry about how many fingers you cross yourself with, or if you believe there were minor prophets after Mohammed. Like Bruce Lee.

I suppose it all comes down to getting over yourself, accepting that people will be different from yourself, and just being OK with that. And language provides us with one, perfect, and gender neutral term for those who insist upon insisting upon themselves: assholes.

We will always have the assholes among us. But we can celebrate the general goodness of everyone else, can’t we? Why do the assholes get all the play? Can we just ignore them or lock them away somewhere, so the rest of us can just get on with minding our own business, being reasonable, and kind to our fellow mortals and sinners? Ultimately we all end up the same, we don’t know how much time we get, and nothing is certain, but let’s try going easy on each other in the meantime. It’s only human.

– JL βœŒπŸΌπŸ’šπŸ––πŸΌπŸŽΈ

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Humbling, Bait, Shame, and Grace. Part 3 of My Experience of America’s Culture Wars.

Not my best look ever. But that’s OK.

Today I appeared to face my female neighbor for a complaint she issued against me. It was interesting. The citing officer had some real hate in her eyes. And I probably could have answered her last question better with an “I don’t know.” But hey, Einstein says no backwards time travel. So I have to get OK with it.

This part of my tale picks up in early November. I woke up one lovely morning and went to take doggo for walkies in my pj’s and robe. My male neighbor got in his truck, drove a few dozen feet, stopped to get a good look at me, rolled down his window, and began with his running commentary on my life.

I had it. After five months of this, I was sick of it. I told him off. Said he was a creep and to quit watching me. Well, every time I went outside, there was the banging and the comments. Finally I just starting hollering kind of like Nicholson at the end of The Shining while he’s hunting down his son to murder him. Upon reflection, the dehumanization of the character of Jack by the Western notion of “The White Man’s Burden” and responsibilities of being a partner and co-parent seems rather appropriate. I did not, however, grab an axe. I pinged an aluminum baseball bat on the concrete.

I had therapy that day. Took a shower. Practiced yoga. Danced to Morrissey. Took some stuff down from the attic (we had already decided to move). Killed an evil old printer Office Space style. It felt kinda good. Like I was Robert DiNero for a minute. Someone who has physical power and a presence that demands respect. Unfortunately, I look like a yappy Chihuahua when I am upset and angry, and my level of respect commanding is set at Rodney Dangerfield.

Then, around 4, the female neighbor came home and started setting up a camera pointed directly at my yard. The male was in the garage. They gave each other a thumbs up when he got the signal from it. I told her off too. Creeps. I could not just live my life in peace. Their hatred was that intense and constant for that long.

I cannot get it myself. Anger is exhausting. And their anger often involved cutting off their nose to spite their face. Destroying their fencing and trees, repeatedly allowing their Rottweiler onto my property where they knew my cameras would see it. And then they would get another fine. The time, the money. For what? Me!?

Well, even though my therapist and I had gone over baiting and not taking the hook. I took the hook that day. Watching and listening to myself from the neighbor’s camera was difficult. It was not my best moment. But she had made me feel so shameful by moving her finger around and myself willingly dancing for her.

What was I thinking? “Don’t fall, Jess.”

She made me feel dirty. But today I got to do a thing I had not done in months. I got to look her in the eye. And my shame melted. This human being was giving false witness to continue to harm a person she had abused. She still hated me.

In the end, they could only prove that I was a loud-mouthed Jersey-girl. So the charge was reduced from “fighting,” and “mooning” (She does not deserve to observe my fine buttocks) to a noise disturbance. Yup. Loud-mouthed Jersey-girl.

The judge seemed fair. My lawyer did well. The little humbling stung at first, but I walked doggo around the hotel. It is warm and sunny today.

I stopped being angry. That female cop, who knows her story? But I can guess at some of my neighbors’. And they are sad. The male cannot think to do anything better than obsessively hate. And she called our house “the tenants” house to puff herself up in front of folks. That is sad. She is sad. He is sad. I am not aware of what that female cop’s major malfunction is. But all these grown people, stuck on hating a nerdy, disabled, 5 foot tall introvert — for I what, I cannot guess — were just sad.

A good hard look at yourself like I had today is uncomfortable. But it was not bad. I felt pity for that person screaming and dancing. I came back inside and did another yoga practice and meditation. And my heart softened towards both myself and all these sad hateful folks. I felt pity for my neighbor. How unhappy must she be?

In the end, it was allowing myself the grace to stumble and fall and allow myself a very human mistake. And also finding the grace to recognize tortured souls. Angry souls. To separate myself from the pain and trauma they inflicted upon me, and see things and people as they are. And open a chink in my heart to “hating the sin, and not the sinner.” I am not ready to forgive fully.

I still have a lot of trauma and pain to work through. But I already could see in my neighbor that she had not moved on, while I had. Not completely, but I physically moved. And she was still stuck in the place she was born. She had never left. I had. My Stan-man and I are in a new town that we love. And we got good news today. Tune in next time to find out what, and follow me to the hospital after the police break into my house, next time on “Jess has a big mouth in type as well as IRL.”πŸ™„πŸ˜‰

– JL βœŒπŸΌπŸ’šπŸ––πŸΌπŸ’πŸ•ΊπŸ»πŸŽΈ

P.S. You may have already noticed the ads, please let me know if they are too much, or where they should be. Big changes are coming to my blog including: hosting different authors, merch made by friends and family, a #buynothing swap shop, exclusive music and video, the opportunity to access special content, donate, and easier ways to like, share and comment! As the cop said to the glazed donut: stick around.

– JL 😘

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