Let’s have a chat
Do you like to talk about mansplaining?
Do you like to talk about toxic masculinity?
Do you like to talk about male privilege?
Outstanding! It’s time to talk.
We can agree that bullying is bad, right? Now by bullying, I mean both verbal and physical assault. But let’s be specific: grabbing somebody without provocation, but with ill-intent is bullying; striking somebody without provocation is bullying. Threatening somebody with bodily harm is bullying. Intentionally interrupting somebody in an aggressive manner? That’s bullying. Now that we’ve got our definitions laid out and agreed upon, let’s continue.
Why does Jim Acosta still have a job at CNN? Why does this petulant putz Acosta continue to spew his rhetoric and act in such a disgusting manner, and stay employed by CNN? Watching the footage of his most recent press briefing at the White House, I cannot help but wonder how he thinks his behavior is acceptable.
All across Facebook, I see women declaring their staunch support of feminism and women’s rights. I’ve seen thousands of memes about “lift each other up” and “queens help each other” or “she persisted.” But here and now, when faced with the opportunity to confront a toxic male who clearly has no respect for women, I see silence or worse from the self-proclaimed feminists. Worse you ask? Indeed, I see justification from the feminists for this behavior. I see far too many women cheering on the threats.
It does not matter for whom Sarah Huckabee Saunders is the Press Secretary. Whether Hillary Clinton stood in the Oval office, Elizabeth Warren, Robert Byrd, Kamala Harris or Mia Love, Press Secretary Saunders deserves the same professionalism, the very same dignified treatment, without regard for whom the Chief Executive of these United States is. Dislike her boss all you want. Love him, hate him, it does not matter. We select our chief executive by way of the ballot box. That does not justify the threats of violence and depredation which have occurred.
A friend once taught me that reciprocity matters. If we use political clout to further our own goals at the expense of others, why should we be surprised when those with whom we disagree act in like manner? Harry Reid famously changed the way confirmations are performed for Justices. It was decried by many as a bad a move, but Reid would not hear of it, and I know many Democrats who applauded. They didn’t need to listen to other points of view or other give value to others’ opinions; they didn’t need to bother working with others. What quaint plebeian notions!
Right up until a party and group of people whom they did not agree with came into power unexpectedly. Now we hear demands for tolerance, compassion, cross-aisle compromise. Where was this a few short years ago? It was not present in the venom, the sheer malevolence of the public statements made.
This state of affairs cannot long continue without doing grievous harm to our Republic. It must end. How then shall we begin? With the equal application of justice.
I’ll believe that CNN supports Feminism when they fire Acosta rather than tolerate his unacceptable behavior one minute further.
I’ll believe the feminists truly care about all women when they set aside political bias to stand up for a woman who doesn’t share their beliefs.
I’ll believe that the MeToo movement supports an end to bad behavior by men when they confront the vipers within their midst and remove such personages permanently. I recommend the sentence of hanging after a guilty verdict is pronounced by a jury. Harvey can’t rape another woman if he’s dead.
When I see Acosta being escorted from CNN’s headquarters on live tv, cardboard box in hand, I’ll care.
When I see him, months afterward, still unable to gain employment because no broadcaster will put up with him, I’ll care.
When he, and every other Matt Lauer-type are no longer on the air, nor their actions swept under the rug, I’ll care.
This goes beyond the realm of media though, and deep into the world of literature. Steadily, there has been a decline of civil discourse. We have set aside such practices in the day and age of social media for the sake of being the first to pronounce a statement, regardless of whether or not we’ve sourced it, verified it, and given it the proper due. Instead there seems to be a stampede to jump on whatever bandwagon has driven into public view and claim it as our own. I’ve seen Black Friday shopping crowds with more manners than the common variety of internet discussions which occur now.
It feels like a Mexican-standoff. Nobody trust each other enough to back down. Nobody trusts each other enough to step back and try to resolve this- not in favor of one side or the other, no finding common ground and peacefully seeking solutions which benefit everybody. Nope. None of that. Instead it’s daggers held at each other’s throats.
What will it take to get people to trust each other? For better or worse, we’re gonna have to start sitting down and talking. We need to find what one of my communications instructors termed “points of commonality”- things we agree on. When we find something that we don’t agree on, we talk it out, with rationality and civility. No screaming, no screeching, no hysterics. And where we can’t agree, even after polite debate, let us agree to disagree and carry on with our day.
You’re going to hear awful things throughout your life. Some of the worst conversation I’ve endured in the course of my life came from listening to white supremacists pontificate at length about how segregation and purity of race are the most important actions of human existence. Mind you, I’m the direct product of a (very happy) union between a Hawaiian man and a white woman. I’m a hapa haole. Something which I had never cause to consider till a black woman (every bit as bigoted as the Klukker) lectured me on the need of whites to make reparations to ‘people of color’. In both cases, I listened to the whole of their rant, calmly asked a few questions of my own, then walked away. I don’t need to fight with them. They weren’t blocking my exit, and they certainly hadn’t raised a hand against me. A man can walk away without needing to apply violence.
About the time the second of these two yahoos got through ranting on how white people needed to open their homes to POC and take care of all their needs, I started having a conversation in my head.
Me: “Self, does that mean Mom owes Dad money?”
Also Me: “Can’t, dad’s the family breadwinner. They’ve shared all their money in a single account since they got hitched.”
Me: “She can pay him back with food.”
Also Me: “Daddy does love Momma’s cooking.”
Me: “Wonder what she’ll make? Ramen noodles with eggs and shredded chicken?”
Also Me: “He had that that for lunch when he got home from graveyard shift. She’ll make homemade cream of mushroom over rice.”
Me: “Betcha if I make peach cobbler for dessert he’ll let me take the truck out for the evening.”
Also Me: “Double time! MARCH!”
Do we see, at it’s very most base, how silly and stupid this segregation/supremacists nonsense is? Which part of my family starts paying back whom? I’ve got more important things to do with my time. You have more important things to do with your time. We all do- there is a need to be civil. To be patient. To learn from each other. And then act in a mature and sensible manner.
I don’t have to like that xenophobic jackass Theodore Beale, any more than I have to accept the nonsense Elizabeth Warren spews. But that doesn’t mean I should threaten them. That doesn’t mean if I were to end up in a debate that I should scream incessantly and incoherently at them, nor interrupt them.
We’ve got to learn how to talk with each other again. Or we’re in a whole lot of trouble.