Looking Back In Anger
We humans and especially we Americans have a very bad habit of looking down our nose at everyone that isn’t us. We love to lecture, to harass, to harangue, and to tell people how wrong they are in their beliefs, upbringing, and the way they live their lives. We like to think of it as a sort of tough love when more often than not it is self-righteousness given voice.
You are wrong! We howl.
You are wrong.
Sometimes that statement isn’t offbase. Some viewpoints, some lifestyles, some opinions, and some actions are wrong. We don’t need a measuring stick to see that. We know it. Alas, the things that we know, in our human hearts, is wrong are very few. Very, very few. So what we do is we take the barometer of what society deems is correct at the time we make our judgment, we take what we feel is right, and we take what our respected peers believe to be right and we filter it all down and pour it liberally over everyone we see. Social Media is a grand place for this to happen as we love to shame one another and cry foul on everything we feel is against the way we see the world. We have become one another’s parents al while so many of us don’t parent our actual children and cannot parent ourselves.
The awfulness of this self-righteousness, this cancerous need to shame people and to label them, is so ridiculous that it seeps into our judgments of the past and infects how we see people and things. Now, we have always done that, we have always looked back and shaken our heads and wagged our fingers at what happened Way Back When and that’s fine…if done from a place of understanding. Much like the few things that we know are wrong we can look at genocides, crimes against humanity, wars, murders, rapes, and on and on and can say without doubt that a thing was WRONG. What history offers are lessons in Mankind 101 and shows us petty and awful we can be but also reminds us how we can rise to a challenge and overcome things. History offers us a roadmap away from failure and terror and towards a better future. If we follow it. Within that history though there are people who we have taken to aiming our ever so keen judgments towards. And here’s where the water muddies. Every person, no matter how vile and despicable, has a thousand things in their heart and no one will ever truly know what it was that drove them to do the evil things they have done. Even if a person kills a hundred people they are human, they may have been loved, and something created them, even if it was madness or anger or whatever. And it is easy, so easy to damn the villains of our world because they are easy targets. Assassins, killers, rapists, slavers, terrorists and on and on have done despicable things but in judging the people and not their crimes we are getting very bold indeed in that we open a door for everyone to always judge us for things that we feel are right and moral and good now. A day may come when things we do in the everyday are seen as atrocities.
It is never wise to damn another’s heart because we will never fully understand it.
But let’s away from villains and monsters and to people who lead lives otherwise common. Do we judge them also for living within their times? For having a narrow view of the world? A narrow view of sexuality, of religion, of race, of creed, of justice, of freedom? Do we damn all that do not live by the credos that we hold dear today? Do we look at someone and not take into account their upbringing, their friends, their lives, their very hearts when we judge them? We are very bold if we do so. Very bold indeed. How soon we forget that we too have hatred in our hearts, prejudices in our hearts, and that we were not always so ‘civilized’. And it is fine to hate the sins of another, it is fine to disapprove of the way someone lived their life but it is sin too to damn a person for a life they lived true to themselves and their beliefs. If a person does no intentional harms is it for us to damn them and pick apart their beliefs? Or is it for us to accept that we will never always agree with everyone. Is it for us to accept that we can appreciate a person, enjoy their work, and love them and not harbor their belief systems?
History is about teaching.
It is about showing us how we have been.
If there’s one thing that we are not good at though it is learning from history because if we did we’d see that every time we point the finger of morality and the mores of the many we are damned to be judged by future generations as we once judged. There are things that are wrong. There are people that were wrong. Let us discuss these things and learn from them and keep the self-righteous indignation for people writing blogs and think pieces. Let us focus on the lessons we can learn and not on the mistakes that were made. Let us focus on ending the current crimes against humanity and learning from the crimes of the past. Let’s not waste our time judging the dead.
Leave it to jerks like me.
You deserve better.