I’m that guy!

12 07 2017

Talking

Yes, as hard as it is to admit, I’m that guy!

I’m that guy who’s going to challenge you when you tell a racist joke or when you mock your Muslim neighbors.  I’m that guy who is going to stop you when you complain about how the ‘gay agenda’ is destroying this country, or how ‘those people’ are talking away all of our jobs!  I’m that guy who is going to call you out when you make gross generalizations . . . about lesbians ‘always’ being so butch, about Latinos who ‘still’ can’t speak English, or about ‘all’ Native Americans being alcoholics!  And if you’re going to in any way disrespect a woman, watch out.  ‘Cuz then I’m really going to hold your feet to the fire!

Yup!  I’m that guy!  And I’m not afraid to call you out!

In spite of the behavior of the current President and so many of his followers: I’m not going to ignore or tolerate such behavior, or in any way pretend that it is either normal or acceptable.

I’m sorry to be that guy on social media who actually reads what you post: who doesn’t just stalk you – voraciously reading all you have to say, but then pretends to be above such trivial pursuits, and acts as if I don’t know what you think about certain things.  I actually want to be ‘social’, and so I will engage you.  When you post Facebook articles that have been proven to be false, or tweet 140 character sound bites that grab peoples’ attention but convey little truth, I’m that guy who’s going to question you.  And not because I think we always need to agree with one another, but because some things are just wrong!  And some things are just not true!

I’m sorry to be that guy who sees you cut in line, and says something.  And I’m sorry to be that guy who sees you talking on your cell phone when you check out of the grocery store, completely ignoring the cashier, and then tells you how rude your being.   I’m sorry to be that guy who honks his horn when you throw trash out your car window. And I’m sorry to be that guy at church who calls gossip what it actually is . . . gossip!

I’m not angry, nor am I really all that annoyed with you.  I’m not trying to be mean, and I don’t even think I’m trying to police the world!  I’m just not willing to let you go on thinking that everything always revolves around you.  And so I’m going to hold you to a higher standard: one that simply respects others, that displays a certain modicum of kindness and sensitivity, that seeks to bring a little more love to the world, and that helps nudge our society as a whole toward becoming more intentionally mindful of the common good.

I’ll try to do it kindly, and gently, and with as much gentleness as I can muster!  But I’m going to do it!

And here’s the thing, I want you to do the same for me!  I want YOU, to hold ME, similarly accountable!  Because that’s what it means for us to be part of this great human family.

All of the great religions of the world call their followers to something akin to the words of Jesus — “Do to others what you’d have others do to you!”  Unfortunately, today, far too many seem to be living under the banner of “Do it to them before they can do it you, because all they want to do is hinder, hurt, or harm you.”  And the result is that we’ve lost respect for one another.  There’s a rampant fear today that has led many people to treat those who are not like us as if they are less than us; and so we’ve begun to normalized rude, irreverent, and downright mean attitudes and behavior.

But I’m that guy who’s not going to accept it.  And I hope you won’t either.  Maybe if a few more of us continue to speak up, these trends can be reversed.  Perhaps if more of us had spoken up when our nation was founded, slavery would never have become that institution that is still destroying lives today.  Perhaps if more of us had spoken up in Germany during the rise of Nazism, Hitler wouldn’t have sent us all into the Second World War.

So let’s all be . . . ‘that’ guy!  . . . who is not going to allow anyone to be marginalized!  Let’s be . . . ‘that’ woman, who is not going to allow fear to win, and thus lead our nation down a road of divisive hatred.  Let’s all be . . . ‘that’ kid, who is not afraid to speak up when it’s time for injustice to be named.

Perhaps if we were all a little more like . . . ‘that’ — the world would become a kinder place in which to live, and a more loving place to call home.

 


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