I love social media. I really do.
I get to talk to cousins I would only see twice a decade, I see what my kids are up to, what their friends are up to. I get to watch people I care about grow up, get married, have adventures.
But periodically I have to step back.
Every now and then I can't even stand to open the page, and mostly it's because of this:
People are rude to each other.
They really are.
They are dogmatic and unforgiving and always believe that their opinion is the only one that matters - which is pretty easy to do when you're alone in your yoga pants eating a pint of gelato on your living room sofa. (I speak from experience)
"Kim Davis says what hurts most is when people say that God doesn't love her. You know, the same thing Christians tell Gay kids EVERY SINGLE DAY."
Um. No. No we don't.
I don't do that.
I've never done that.
I do the opposite of that.
I don't actually know anybody who does that. Certainly there are people who do. But they don't seem to run in my circle, and if they do, they've kept their mouths shut and their Instagram pretty quiet about it.
Another guy I know, who asked very politely what the difference was between attempting to abort a five month old fetus and trying to save a 5 month old preemie, was met with this: "Quit denying women the life they NEED because of your own science-denying morals!" He asked a question. All the dude did was ask a question - a question that a lot of people have - a lot of people on both sides of the fence.
Oh - and then there is this: "Giving the gays the right to get married is only leading to things like legalizing pedophilia."
Nooooooo it's not.
Sex and marriage are for consenting adults.
Boxing is legal, but you can't punch a seven-year-old in the head and get away with it. Boxing is for two consenting adults.
Alcohol is legal, but you can't serve it at a fifth grader's birthday party, or even a graduation party. You can't. I know people who tried. (Keep it classy class of '89)
Driving - also legal. But you still need to be of age, and believe it or not people have to get into your car willingly - or else we call it kidnapping.
The presidential campaigns are only making this worse - polarizing people who really need to get their $#!t together and do some good.
Because it seems to me that the only difference between religious and non-religious people (or political and non-political people for that matter) is assumed transparency. People can look at a Christian or Muslim or Jew, or even a Republican or a Democrat and assume they know everything that person believes. People think they know, because supposedly there's a book that spells it out (a book they've likely never read, but a book nonetheless). But books can be interpreted in all sorts of ways.
The difference is that when you claim to be non-religious, there is no manual. But pretending you don't have beliefs is assinine. You have 'em, you just get to keep them to yourself. You might believe the Big Mac is better than the Whopper. You might believe we should provide a free college education to everyone, or that we should privatize social security. You might hate Chinese people. You might believe that aliens walk the earth. You might believe that everyone should be vegan, but damn straight you believe SOMETHING, you're just not clumped into a large subsect of people and stereotyped on a daily basis.
Because you know what - there are books about religion, but there are no books about ME. There are no books about my kids, my neighbors, my relatives. People are complex. You can be a Muslim and stand for women's rights. You can be a Christian and be gay or stand with your LGBT friends. You can be a Jew and eat bacon wrapped shrimp. Oh yes you can.
Because people are people and maybe someday we can start treating each other that way. Maybe someday we'll realize that we're all on the same team here - that we're allowed to disagree and still get along.
My picture at the top - it's Yoda. The little girl in the red is my tentative, shy, sweet little kindergartener. My tentative, shy, sweet, little Greek Jewthran of a kindergartener. She's always nervous when I drop her off at school. She's holding hands with a fourth grader who came to her rescue. Nope, that's not a hoodie - it's a hijab. The Muslim girl saw my Jewish/Christian kid and came to talk to her and comfort her.
Or more correctly - this kindhearted fourth grader saw my suffering five year old and helped her. Period.
Why can't everything end like this?
When everybody is playing defense nobody wins.