So I caught some of American History X on TV yesterday, and it got me thinking. No, I've never been in the situation Edward Norton's character finds himself in, but I wonder how much intolerance really does seep in. Now, I am generally a pretty tolerant guy, but like anyone else I find myself forming opinions when I hear what the news is reporting. Last year this blog imploded in part because I attempted to mount a defense of Bill Cosby. I happen to be someone who thinks everyone is redeemable, given the chance, but I also believe that rushing to judgment is wrong, regardless of what circumstances may suggest. I talked about how I thought Cosby might have been targeted due to his opinions from a decade earlier, in which he voiced the black community's lack of accountability. This was a conclusion I'd reached in part because I was skeptical about all the defenses people were formulating around the series of police shootings of black males, which has become a regular feature in the news over the past few years.
American History X made me think about what I was really advocating. While I believe that circumstances sometimes dictate unfortunate situations, which has been the case for African Americans, for American Indians, for everyone who has ever come to this country, in fact, I found myself thinking the victim was worth blaming. That's the bottom line. I have to own that. The victim is never worth blaming. In attempting to come to a full understanding of what was happening, I found myself thinking along lines that were the opposite of what I believe. I say I'm a tolerant guy. I was raised Catholic. Catholics have some pretty strict ideas about certain things. Some of those ideas I agree with, and some I don't. It's never okay to say someone isn't allowed to do or be something because of who they are. We're all individuals just trying to fit in. The more we work together, the better. Coming from someone who definitely has had problems fitting in, that means something to me, maybe not the same way it means to a black man, or a gay man, or any other version of the basic human model you can think of, but it connects me, it means I belong in the same quagmire, and that I have no right muddling things just because I don't understand something.
A blog I used to follow, which isn't particularly active now, was part of the implosion, in part because it was increasingly advocating certain things without following my particular criteria, which when I say it like that it sounds ridiculous. The problem became, I felt isolated from an experience I had previously been a part of. And hey, that happens. As much as we struggle to fit in, we have to also realize that the irony is, nothing lasts forever. The thing we try so desperately to be a part of is the same thing we will eventually leave behind. Things change.
The UK exit from the European Union happened, and at first I didn't get why it was such a bad thing. But again, it's the separation effect. Trump as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, I just didn't get why people loathed the idea so much. But advocating walls around the country? Listen, I rationalized that he says whatever he thinks people want to hear. I say to myself, this is what happens when the Democrats spend years isolating Republicans. The truth is, Trump isn't presidential material. And maybe I've been too hard on the Clintons. They just finished announcing more ways in which a Clinton has failed on a human level, but the truth of the Clintons is the same today as it was twenty-five years ago: these are politicians through and through, and they are, despite themselves, very human, too. There's a Clinton in contention again for a reason, because they know how to play the game. Everything else is divisiveness. I talked recently about how the Democrats have played that game this millennium, because the Republicans played it before them, etc. But the truth is, regardless of what a Clinton does, I think we're at a point where we're going to emerge from all this nonsense. This whole campaign season has proven that we've all pushed too far.
And really, that's what it's all about. My working life has been pretty mediocre. At one point, I worked alongside immigrants who were more likely than not completely illegal, and I was the one who felt isolated. It made me feel uncomfortable, but then, I'm generally uncomfortable with the concept of other people in general, not because of who they are, but because of me, because I've never gotten the handle of other people. I'm an introvert. Hear me roar.
I can never reset to how things were before last year, and in truth, it was probably inevitable, this exodus. I once had an idea that I could overcome my clumsiness around others, but the truth is, and I'm not bemoaning my fate, I can't dictate how others view me, regardless of whether it's positive or negative. All I can do is try and be fair toward others. This began because I suggested we needed to talk about Bill Cosby, when the real subject was something else entirely. We're once again at a cultural crossroads. We've recognized that society hasn't made as much progress in tolerance, in fairness, as we've sometimes led ourselves to believe. There are those who are rallying to the defense of victims, of those struggling to find their footing, and generally they're absolutely right, and it's generally wrong to say otherwise.
I just thought I should acknowledge that.