Ignorance Is Not An Excuse For Being An Asshole

ignorance

On Tuesday, Republican candidate Ted Cruz made a statement to the public after the horrific terrorist attack in Brussels saying that in the face of radical extremists, the U.S. needs to put aside political correctness. Yes, Ted Cruz, you are an asshole. Even our current Commander in Chief responded in a quip about how your father left his birth country specifically because it denied him freedoms that should not only be entitled to every American, but every individual, regardless of their nationality. You would think that in the U.S., a place which constantly prides itself on the virtues of freedom, justice,  and liberty for all—which was founded solely by immigrants from around the globe—that the American public would be, not only the most politically correct country, but also the least ignorant.

Americans spend decades in school chained to an education system that denies them early access to gainful employment because it continues to make students take classes that are completely irrelevant to their degrees. History, sociology, psychology, foreign language credits—all which give a broader insight to the world at large. Yet, it stills seems that logic and reason fall short when they take their comparative lessons out of the classroom and into a harsh reality. Women make up half of the population. There should be equal pay, paid leave for families, access to reproductive health care, and many other systems in place to our benefit. Americans have a tenuous history that has been repeatedly rewritten in order to paint Western culture as progressive instead of demonstrating its pains in development. Crimes against humanity, from the massacre of indigenous nations to the prejudice that sparked the civil rights movement, are passed over briefly without elaboration into the cause or effect towards the root of the issue. Americans are supposed to learn from their past mistakes, not that any nation is without them, and take the lead to right what went so dreadfully wrong before. Instead, they now have Donald Trump running for President and threatening to keep Latinos and Muslims out of the country at any cost, appealing to an audience which delights in the promise of a nation ruled under pure ignorance alone.

I have no tolerance for intolerance. My facial expressions cannot disguise the distaste and contempt I feel when I’m on the receiving end of mansplaining, when I hear blind patriotism being vocalized with no foundation to stand on or I’m forced to be subjected to the plights of the privilege along with their petty concerns. The kind of ignorance that is bred within small communities with the belief in one church and one nation under God. The ignorance that comes out of being raised by parents who refused to give a wide awareness to social causes apart from their own political agendas. Ignorance that keeps guns in the hands of the common man and insists that liberty has anything to do with the right to carry a weapon. The concept of being politically correct to them is completely foreign. It infringes on their freedom of speech and victimizes their opinions.

I will admit with shame that I am not always politically correct. There are two people in this world with whom I dare to be more brazen with and don’t mind my tongue. Outside of these very private conversations, I attempt to think carefully before I speak and through my actions affirm the kind of moral responsibilities we should all hold to humanity. We are not perfect. It is not our sole priority to constantly dissemble centuries of racism, bigotry, sexism, class-ism, xenophobia, homophobia, or the many other injustices that have plagued us. I do believe, however, that no one has the right to assert positive affirmations against any individual. regardless of their personal opinions. There is much to be said about the process of thinking before you speak. Many people quote this phrase yet very rarely bring it up in times of need. I baffle at those who think that because they’ve humored me slightly with a previous anecdote that we can also easily segue into a conversation about how why they think Planned Parenthood is a waste of resources. Or that, as a woman, I would argue against the idea of having the future President be a woman, too. I’m stunned they think that I would or could go along with their subtle prejudices in polite conversation—even around the family dinner table. It’s both disgusting and disturbing that vocalizing these opinions broadly is allowed or thought to be tolerated.

I’m here to tell you in this article that you are an asshole if you’ve ascribed or practiced any of these ignorant actions in the past without rectifying yourself. You’ve done more harm than good to society and should think twice before you repeat the same behavioral patterns. No one is benefiting from your hateful, obstinate declarations and frankly, no one wants to hear them. You look like a fool when you do because you are one. I love discourse and I love a good debate, but there is nothing to engage with in a discussion when you only end up talking to a brick wall. There can be hope for you but unless you take excessive care in your mannerisms and the language practiced, not much is going to change for the better.

First, please know what you’re talking about. If it’s politics, understand both sides of a divide and form your ideas around concrete statements that can be backed up with reliable sources. If it’s religion think about the fact, that unless you’re speaking to someone of the same faith, they most likely do not care at all about your belief system. Talk about what benefits it brings to your life and share your personal experience if it’s a defining subject to you, then stop yourself. I have never heard of someone sharing any sort of gospel and a few hours later having a pew filled at the next sermon. You simply do not get to negatively impact with your vote any minority issues if you are not a minority yourself. Plain and simple. Really you should be gaining information about social issues from the people it’s primarily affecting. If that doesn’t change your mind on how to advocate for those without your particular privileges, then you need to keep those thoughts to yourself. I’m not interested in listening to a justification from anyone on why they think that because they were born on American soil they have a right to decide the fates of millions of people they have no involvement with.

I read recently a wonderful quote about our process of thought. It said the first response that comes into our minds is what society has taught us and led us to believe to be true. The second thought shows our character and the person we truly are. The best part about this is that everyone, if they allowed themselves a moment to think, will have the second thought come to them eventually. It still may not be made in sound judgement but wouldn’t you like to know how to think for yourself? I’ve gotten in heated arguments when a woman has told me she’s not a feminist, only ten minutes later to have her declare she only said she wasn’t because she believed feminism rested on the belief that women value their own sex above men. Or when a friend has spoken out of turn and then comes to the realization that they were in the wrong and apologized for the untimeliness of their actions. It takes courage to stand up against the masses, or even a frightfully aggressive person who insists that they are in the right. It’s not without it’s honor though as you steadily make it clear to others that the time to tolerate ignorance has to come to an end. If it isn’t checked now, it might never well be. 

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