A couple weeks ago, my eight year old came home all excited because she and some friends had created a Kitty Club. Being a crazy cat lady in training, it gave her the opportunity to discuss cats, their breeds, and share funny feline stories with peers with common interests. Developmental years are hard because we’re all trying to find a sense of belonging while discovering our likes and desires, so I didn’t stop to think about any ramifications.
By the end of the week, the group had grown and somebody had the BRILLIANT idea to create a test necessary for membership into the club. I stopped my daughter right there and let her know that I disapproved of this idea. This kind of exclusion can easily hurt feelings and create unnecessary animosity between friends. She was upset, but decided to take matters into her own hands by whispering the answers to potential members before they were tested.
Regardless, several members were kicked out for being too loud. Hard feelings were created. And then a new club was formed: the Puppy Club. Within a day, the two groups were at odds, getting into arguments and picking fights. By the end of the week, my daughter had a write-up for pushing another girl. I let her know about my disappointment and vowed to put a stop to it.
Later that day, I logged into Facebook for my daily eye-roll. Sure enough, my feed was filled with Gay Marriage (for and against), Women Equality, Gun Laws, Planned Parenthood, Pussy Ass Liberals and Murder Happy Conservatives. It’s enough to make anybody’s head spin.
The worst words in language are labels. It’s pretty obvious that I could drop F-bombs in public and get dirty looks, but the second I label myself or anybody else, it’s all out war. Open up a history book and find it spray-painted like vulgar graffiti.
This is my religion.
This is my heritage.
This is my language.
This is my gender.
These are my beliefs and all others can bask in the wrongness of being wrong, evil, damned, etc.
The terrifying part is that we have desensitized ourselves to each other through these labels. I know plenty of conservatives who don’t own guns. I know liberals who don’t collect welfare benefits. I know strong women. I know sensitive men. And for some reason, I’ve NEVER met a homosexual who runs around trying to jackhammer the virtues of straight men while prancing around in a rainbow-colored track-suit.
Though, to be fair, if my love for my wife was constantly under attack and our relationship deemed “unholy”, you can bet your sweet fanny I’d be pushing back in the most offensive, flamboyant manner conceivable.
Somewhere we forgot that we’re attacking other people with our words. Because it’s not people, it’s LABELS. It’s safe, because we can hide behind our own caged clubs and sling poo at the others. We can’t see the eyes of the people we hurt. We don’t even know their names.
So my question to you is this: Where do we draw the line? Can we as humans with an insatiable need to be loved and accepted shun the comfort and companionship offered us by these vices? Or are they false prophets ultimately dragging us closer to our downfall by feeding hate and animosity instead of celebrating differences?
It’s all a lot to take in. Too much thought for me. I think I might have snapped a bit because, next thing I knew, I was in the backyard with an axe, chopping down a pear tree and planting apple seeds in it’s stead…
Because f*ck pears.