Guilty as charged – a truer quote has never been spoken!
I’ve never really been the quiet kind. I’ve had a really hard time with being called judgmental and harsh, but would defiantly push my chin forward and argue that I am neither. So, I’ve spent large parts of my life worrying about hurting or angering others with my sharp tongue and the fear of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time made me even more of a hermit than I already was. After all, I always mean(t) well.
Judgment comes quite natural to me. I adhere to general codes of honesty, integrity, loyalty and decency and don’t understand why these lines are blurry for others. I perceive the world amplified, in a way that other people do not understand.
I don’t easily let go and have a strong compulsion to fight for anything and anyone who is weaker, in the minority or otherwise unable to defend themselves. Hence, I don’t like bullies, I don’t like moochers and those who take advantage of others. I don’t like superior types who think they are better/deserve better because of their status, race, religion, good looks, intellect or education and I can’t stand sense of entitlement. I don’t like liars, martyrs, self-centered jerks and behind-the-back-talkers.
And yes, I am a hypocrite, because I often speak in absolutes and yet, can’t stand those who state that all poor people are lazy, all immigrants are moochers, all Germans are Nazis, all Mexicans are lazy – you get the picture. My absolutes usually revolve around religions and parties. I have grown to strongly dislike Tea Baggers and religious splinter groups, who preach hate, intolerance and fear. I haven’t met anyone on these sides who were humanitarians and people one can look up to.
I am trying to put myself in the shoes of others; but I still fail miserably. I try to listen to any argument, no matter how strange it might be, as long as there is reason, logic and an open mind – preferably a kind heart, too.
A while ago I got into a huge argument with a friend, whose arguments against universal health care, better education and care for all were so angry and hateful that I was shocked. Yes, I grew up in Germany, a socialist country, but have always felt that my beliefs were not based on a political system, but on the fundamental thought that I had been so lucky and successful in my life that I gladly paid it forward and felt it was my duty to help those less fortunate. It takes coming from the ghetto to understand what it feels like to be there.
The arguments of supporting the lazy, helping drug addicts, the homeless and losers, who chose to be in their position, were coming from a devout Christian. Didn’t Jesus preach about helping the sick, poor and less fortunate? The anger about having to pay more (taxes, healthcare, etc.) overwrote any compassion. This conversation made me stop in my tracks.
I am so angry at the unjust judgments and assumptions that are being hurled around about those who are on welfare. I am appalled about the judgments thrown around about women who are getting an abortion, about illegal immigrants, LGBT individuals and Muslims. Yet, how often had I made an assumption about another because they did an asshole move like lying, cheating, talking behind another’s back, judging, belittling or being cowards, when I had engaged in some of these asshat moves myself? And how often had I concluded that all Jews would hate me, because I’m German and that all Christians had turned into Kool-Aid chugging nut jobs. I realized how judging in one area, leads to becoming a judgmental person in pretty much all other areas, too. I understood that every time I judged I was no different than those people, even when or if my motives were nobler or “just.”
Judgment is a slippery slope. It starts with an assumption; usually the assumption that we have all the facts and know more than we do. It then goes down the path of elevating oneself above said behavior and therefore “judging” that we have the right to tell the other side what to do, hate them, fear them, dislike them, reject them or not support them. This is because we feel that our side is the right side! But judging also implies that we have walked in their shoes and most of the time we haven’t.
So when we suspend judgment, does that mean that there shouldn’t be universal values we are willing to defend? Of course not. But I do believe that the only answer to get ourselves out of this mess we are in, globally, is to start with some compassion and less complaining about your rights being taken away, especially when you are actually pretty lucky, pretty rich and definitely in the position to pay it forward and share.
When I look around and listen to what spews out of people’s mouths and hearts in the name of defending their rights and freedom of speech, I hang my head in shame. Alas, all I can do is do my best to catch myself when I engage in judgmental douche baggery and attempt to do my part to help make this world a better place.