Sometimes I think that I know exactly what to think.
Other times, I find myself reminding said self that there are two sides to every story and somewhere in between there is probably a truth or two lying around.
Still, I rely heavily on my confidence that as a critical thinker and proud owner of a well-honed bullshit detector, I will be guided to the truth.
Boy, howdy. What to think about those topics? Even if my assertion that somewhere under or beside each side’s screams is the truth of the matter…I feel like the old He said/She said idiom is getting more than a fair share of abuse.
Hence, the hashtag.
Yesterday, I was reading a blog entry by a Christian Blogger where he was confronted by a homeless person on his morning bus ride into work. He didn’t engage, and was so caught off guard by the outburst that he couldn’t find any words. He just sat quietly across from the man and held his gaze.
Ultimately, the person moved seats and oriented himself facing away from the blogger. His take on that – even though he acknowledge the obvious mental illness – was that the man was possessed by a demon and that in silently confronting him, the devil had seen his inner god-spirit and run away from him, just like the Bible teaches.
What? You’re still back on “He follows a Christian blogger?” aren’t you?
Full disclosure, I follow a couple of Christian bloggers.
Also several POC bloggers, even though I am just an old whitey.
I should probably say that I also follow a couple a Mothers that blog, too, even though the last time I checked – which probably wasn’t recently enough – I do not personally have a vagina. Or kids.
There’s a blogger I follow who is a teenage girl.
Another that is an old man.
And several that are some combination of all of those things and several other that I didn’t even mention.
Oh, and a couple of blogs about cats.
I don’t want to become trapped in an echo chamber in the blogosphere and more than I do in reality. To that end, I read a lot of blogs that are created from different life experiences than my own.
I follow bloggers who say interesting things. The frame of reference that this provides me helps me remain open.
Even though I don’t personally believe this homeless man was possessed by a demon spirit or frightened of my blog buddy’s god spirit, the story was intriguing. The point was still somewhere in there between his beliefs in god and my belief in science.
The homeless guy was – in my layperson observation – nuts.
And I live in Portland, so I was also just relieved that my writer friend didn’t end up stabbed.
What people believe is their own business, I’m not here to tell anyone that there is or isn’t a god. As long as spiritual-minded people also believe in things that are provable, they have all the balance they need in my book.
But back to Jussie and CovCath.
Those two issues that have captured our nation’s attention recently have me worried that too much emphasis is put on what people want to believe before the full weight of facts is considered. My observation is usually that somewhere in there is a bible of another sort.
The Bible-bible is generally accepted to have around 40 contributing authors. Sorry, it was not literally written by this god person everyone is talking about, nor his son. And that fact is freely admitted by believers and non-believers alike.
That that’s sometimes the last thing those groups agree on is another thing altogether, but I digress
This good book, it’s a recounting of events that may or may not have been directly witnessed by the writer or told to the writer in a second hand-ish account. Or it’s all crap, which is where one has to bring faith to the equation.
Having been raised Catholic, I take the book as a collections of lessons versus instructions. Nothing in my life is predicated on the argument, “Because the Bible says”.
To paraphrase the prophet Jerry Maguire, “Show Me The Science” if you want me to think of what you’re saying as fact versus your opinion. I’m usually pretty ok acknowledging someone’s opinion. I may remind them of the old adage, “Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one and they usually stink” with a not too subtle meaningful stare if their opinion is too far out in the field. But otherwise, everyone can think what they want. If they present opinion as fact, I have a problem with that.
This is where I think recent events have us boondoggled, though. The facts of the Jussie and CovCath dramas are still unfolding and/or may never be fully known. In the interim, people are filling that factual void with opinions that are settling in quickly as facts. That’s our bible of a different sort, right there. By the time facts are known, opinion will have already been written down by far more than just 40 random people and 2000 years from now…well, I’m not going to finish that extrapolation. Unfortunately for many of us, Jussie Smollet, CovCath, anyone writing their opinions down on either side of either case…in 2000 years, no one is likely going to give a damn.
Hell, the way things are going, in 2000 years, the Kardashians will all be worshipped as gods, if you want my perfectly snarky opinion on today’s state of literal and figurative affairs.
But, as it stands in the here and now, we’ve got people on both sides filling us all in on what to think. Yes, folks, we’ve reverted to a “Whoever yells loudest is right” mentality, courtesy of our Cheeto in Chief – Benedict Donald himself – telling people that news that doesn’t jive with his agenda is Fake News and tweet-shouting at the masses what he needs them to believe in lieu of allowing them to hear the truth and face its consequences. And it seems to be working for him, this abuse of truth.
And in that case, why isn’t it working for Jussie Smollet and that little jerk from Covington Catholic?
In a vacuum of facts, I’m going with what I saw with my own eyes and I’m not taking the gaslighting that anyone cares to add. Remember, everyone, if you saw it, it happened. We aren’t talking about UFOs and ghosts, we are talking about protesters and B-list celebrities – to be clear, I’m calling Jussie B-list, not Trump (he wishes) – in situations where we have camera phone and video tape footage that should help to inform our opinion.
Believe What You Saw With Your Own Eyes.
Starting anywhere else or with any other premise is a betrayal of not only the knowable facts, but also of our own intelligence and integrity. Whatever else happens in this world, those two things are uniquely ours to defend. Do not give them away freely just because someone yells loudest.