Imperfect Strangers

Yesterday, I was called a "Pink Pussyhat Wearing Pig" by a perfect stranger. Truth told, he was more of an imperfect stranger, though truth told, so am I. This man knew absolutely nothing about me. He had a mythology and sought evidence to confirm my lack of humanity. How could I, a person whom he has never met posting a simple comment about the lack of civility in our political discourse among our elected officials have ANY reason to be considered a person with thoughts and feelings worth respecting?

We disagree, therefore I must be dehumanized. We disagree, therefore I must be attacked.

It makes it so much easier to hate people when you don't see them as people anymore.

I wasn't angry or hurt. It's not personal, this person doesn't even know me or my life. They've reduced me to an ideology so they can justify hating me. That's sad for them, isn't it? That's the crux of most of the worst impulses of humanity. Dehumanize other humans to justify hate, violence, war, and the endless unspeakable acts humans manage to rationalize and justify. I decided the best response was to disengage and carry on. I am finding the delete, block, exhale option most appealing these days.

You can call me whatever you please, I don't have to accept that as truth or react to it in anger. What does it matter what you think about me, imperfect stranger?

It doesn't.

We're all just humans having human experiences. Our convictions and opinions are not facts, they're colored by our biases and our experiences and our emotions. If your convictions are firmly held they should not be threatened by someone else's thoughts. If they're so tenuous that you become furious when other people disagree, something is wrong with your convictions. They lack substance. If you can't debate without resorting to name calling, bullying, and attacking, then you aren't thinking deeply about what you believe. You are being driven by fear.

What are you afraid of, exactly? Is it possible that you're afraid you are wrong?

What would happen if we started with the basic premise that you are a human and the person on the other side of your keyboard is also a human? What if we stopped yelling at each other and just allowed for other people to have different opinions?

What would happen if we stopped allowing the rhetoric of fear and division and hate to hold sway?

What would happen if we deprogrammed ourselves from our divisive tribal thinking, and saw ourselves as part of the human race, all of us, connected, related, equally important? What if we expanded our tribe to include everyone?

There is no other, there is only us.

I'm not a pink pussy hat wearing pig. I'm a human having a human experience, and so is he, and so are you.

We can be better. We can do better.

United we stand, divided we fall.

E Pluribus Unum, out of many, one.



  1. I agree and, sadly, from what I've seen, I'm not sure we're going to change any current mindsets.I do think we have a chance of making a change in this culture of anger, bullying and abuse and it is through our children. Whatever we are doing wrong, make sure the next generation does right.

  2. Beautifully said Madge. I often remind myself that at the core we all experience the same emotions. We are driven by similar desires, fears, joys, and sufferings. I love what Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, "If we could read the secret history of our enemies we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility." We need to shake off the all or nothing mentality. None of us is all hero or all villain. I struggle to find a way that I can make a difference in the big picture, but the one thing I know I can do is be kind to everyone I come in contact with and to listen with an open mind to opposing points of view. I don't have to be swayed by them, but at least try to understand them, and be open to analyzing my perceptions.

    Thanks for sharing such a thoughtful post. I found your blog through your comment on my guest post at Cresting the Hill.

  3. I think this isn't a modern phenomena but more likely something that's always been. I don't think it will change much going forward. Human nature is the way it is. And while you and I may raise our children and grandchildren differently, those hard to get along with people are likewise, raising their kids.....

  4. I am in total agreement with what you say, but then I am comfortable with my thoughts and ideologies so am also willing to listen to others. I try to always agree to disagree. How sad that this man felt threatened by your strength and stability - I believe unconsciously he felt those qualities in you on top of the rest.

  5. America's identity has always been wrapped up in the macho, John Wayne mentality. We have never allowed feminity and the balance women can offer to blend with the full-blown patrichary. That one-sidedness creates an imbalance and it fosters bullying, anger, and abuse. I see women being this way too and it's very disturbing - not just on a political level but in life. Our society needs more female balance to become healthier.


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