There are some really big words being used these days, and I don’t mean largewithalotofletters big. These words have a really big and powerful meanings and intentions behind them. For example, “bigot” is used more often than ketchup on fries. My social media feed is filled with accusations of hate, bigotry, stupidity, ignorance, misogyny, racism, radical, extremism, fundamentalist…the stories of heroes and love, intelligence, miracles, unity and selflessness are becoming fewer and fewer.
What does it all mean and how do I explain it all to my children? I have a lot of ideas and I’m going to share them (you knew that was coming, right?!). Maybe I will sound too “feel-goody” or maybe too simplistic, but I’m going to have a go at it…and I’m not very politically correct, so you can be assured that I won’t say anything because the masses tell me it’s the popular idea!
There is a very simple strategy behind my philosophy of life – I am free to think and believe anything I want and live according to those beliefs and my ideas surrounding my choices, as long as I don’t allow these to infringe on the liberties of others. My moral obligation is to allow others the same, and when my rights (or those of people I feel affinity for), are in jeopardy, I take action. That normally doesn’t entail name calling or misinterpreted use of words, no matter how popular they may be. If I do succumb to name calling, misuse of words, or fall into less than stellar behaviour, I take responsibility and do what needs to be done to repair it. Otherwise, I fight a good, fair, morally and ethically responsible, and legal fight to reverse whatever injustice has been rendered.
As to the use of all of these big words, I have taught my children to use a dictionary whenever someone begins spouting their political, religious, or whatever doctrine is popular for the day. They can then decide for themselves is making proper use of the words. If they are evaluate their statements and decide the benefits of the statements. If not, move on and do not give that person any serious attention. If a person wants to be taken seriously, they will at least use language that represents their ideas properly, not popularly.
Really, this is a very simple, practical position to take, no matter the topic. After all, a bigot is a person who is “utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, belief, or opinion” Dictionary.com, and not a person who just disagrees and / or shares their opinion (so check that this isn’t you and not the person being accused!)… and a misogynist is a one who “hates, dislikes, mistrusts or mistrusts women and not someone who disagrees or shares their opinion” Dictionary.com, unless that is actually the idea that is stated… a racist is someone who believes that “one’s own racial group is superior, or that another racial group is inferior to the others” Dictionary.com, not someone who simply disagrees or shares their opinion, unless that is the actual statement shared.