So, I posted something on Facebook yesterday. In case you weren’t one of the 2 to 35 percent (the numbers vary widely on organic Facebook reach) who saw that post, here it is again:
I want to be clear that this wasn’t meant as criticism of any group of people. It was merely an observation, a musing, if you will. I was told yesterday that nothing is black and white. But that just isn’t true. There are many things that are black and white. For example, a lie is a lie. Oh…wait…it could now also be an alternative fact. Bad example.
Anyways, back to my musing. As I reflect on the past number of months, it seems to me there are some things that are very much black and white. Originally, I started to entertain the idea that the entire planet comprises only Democrats and Republicans. (Actually, I prefer the Canadian terminology: Liberals and Conservatives…much more to the point.) It doesn’t even matter which country you live in, you took a position on Brexit, on the US presidential election, on immigration, on transgender washrooms, gay marriage, and abortion issues.
Me, I am a pretty left-leaning person. Like, practically falling over, left-leaning. Not down with Brexit; can’t stand the new POTUS; totally up…like all the way up…with immigration, transgender washrooms, gay marriage and abortion rights. And for the life of me, I will never understand why Muslim women are being banned from wearing certain garb in public. If they want to cover their faces, they should be able to do that. Western women cover their faces all the time, some to the point of being unrecognizable. It’s called make-up. Point being, if people want to cover their faces to commit an act of terror, they can just pull their baklava or balaclava…or whatever…out of their backpack and cover their face. Uncovering people’s faces is not going to prevent terrorism.
Naively, I spent most of my life thinking that the majority of people think like me. Certainly, I thought all of my friends thought like me. Liberally. And for the most part, that is true. Most of my friends have left-leaning tendencies. However, my theory of it being as black and white as Liberals vs. Conservatives has gone out the window. It’s still black and white. It’s just not as left and right as I once believed (i.e. the day before yesterday).
For example, let’s take my friend…we’ll call him George. I’ve known George since we were in grade nine. Some might say I knew him very well in my late teens and early twenties. Sure, I haven’t seen him in over 20 years, but we have been Facebook friends for a decade. If you had asked me six months ago what I thought of George, I would have used words like informed, family man, free-thinker, environmentalist. And those words totally apply. As such, I thought George thought like me. But in recent months George has “liked” Facebook posts like this one:
George doesn’t think like me after all. But he’s so left-leaning on certain topics. Why not all topics?? And that’s when it came to me. It is not about being progressive or conservative. It’s about being inclusive or exclusive. And in my humble, non-scientific opinion, this has to be a genetic trait. How else can you explain an absolute, unwavering inability to understand each other’s viewpoint? How else can you explain being baffled by people that you otherwise love and admire? How else do you explain two groups of people who are both so certain that they are right, regardless of evidence to suggest otherwise?
You see, I am a Libra (in case you haven’t heard). Generally speaking, I have an uncanny ability to see both sides of a coin. But when it comes to matters of inclusivity or exclusivity, I can only see my side. You’ve probably heard the term “bleeding heart liberal.” Although it is often used as a derogatory term or a put-down, bleeding heart liberals are people who are considered “excessively sympathetic toward those who claim to be underprivileged or exploited.”
This sounds like a positive trait to me. But to an exclusionist, it threatens one’s ability to self-preserve. And perhaps it does. And maybe it’s OK to prioritize the safety of yourself and your family exclusively. I mean, odds are, people like me will be the first to die in a zombie apocalypse – although, if my husband has his way, we will be living in the middle of nowhere on some self-sustaining farmland and perhaps slightly more difficult for the zombies to find. In any event, I’m going to let you all hide out there with me (unless you’ve been zombified). Because that is what I am hard-wired to do.
Which brings me to the hot topic of immigration. A danger to the exclusionist. Personally, I believe that it is short-sighted to think that what happens in third-world or war-torn countries can never happen here. I’m actually quite certain it can and will happen here. In fact, I think that the danger comes in when you staunchly believe that you and your children will never be in a position where you are struggling to survive or fleeing for your lives. No matter where you live in the world, no one is guaranteed a safe existence. And whether it is ISIS, or Putin, or the Alexandre Bissonnette’s of the world, or Donald Trump himself who takes us down, I can only hope that there will be people willing to provide sanctuary to me and my family, even if it isn’t in their best interest to do so.
Theoretically, those who value self-preservation should really consider latching on to the idea of immigration. And it’s not just about karma baby. In a global community, where we take care of each other, there will always be somewhere to go. Unfortunately, the genetic trait of being an exclusionist will prevent that mind shift.
And while it took me a while to get here, this is the moral of this particular story. Yesterday, I felt a bit challenged to debate this topic. But here’s what…there is no point in trying to debate away my genetic composition or the genetic composition of the exclusionist. That would be like Mike Pence trying to convince a gay man/woman that he/she can be converted. Literally. I want to say there is hope for us. I want to find the common ground that can unite us. Mostly, I want people to understand that a Facebook post calling a certain faction of individuals a “special kind of lunatic” falls on deaf ears, and a video equating gumballs to refugees is just a video about gumballs to me. Just like someone posting a picture such as the following makes the exclusionist roll their eyes and make gagging noises.
(Mostly, I just wanted to incorporate this picture into my post.)