A friend FB posted the now famous photo of Trump publicly mimicking a disabled person.
Someone immediately rebutted, saying that if you’ve ever circled your finger around your temple when referring to another person being ‘crazy’, you’re no better.
The subtext argument is that you’re just as bad as this person and you’ve no right to criticize their insensitivity because you’ve done things like that too.
This argument tends to give people pause, which possibly pleases the attacking person to see they were effective in stopping the conversation.
It’s good that we pause. It shows we are sensitive. We are reflecting on that person’s attack and taking responsibility.
In that crystalline pause lies the opportunity to further ask yourself, do I regret having said or done things like that? Do I strive to understand other people better, every day? Am I trying to learn more about other people’s history and their situations and be less reactive and judgmental?
All of us have been cruel or unthinking or unkind. We’re human.
All of us, have been ignorant or unaware of other people’s situations and have not been able to see their struggles through their minds, hearts and bodies. We’re human.
What is most supremely human is that we have the ability to see our ignorance and act to change it.
We can find the courage in ourselves to let go of what we’ve always believed or been taught. A person’s ability to say “I used to think…and now I know” is a measure of their freedom. A measure of their independent freedom of thought and their freedom from other people’s authority and control. In a word, maturity.
Sometimes, by accepting purposeful change in ourselves we lose things we once held dear, our past habits, or our present safe and familiar lives. Sometimes, we have to leave friends and family behind.
But I believe that our ability to self reflect and to courageously make changes in ourselves, is our greatest human potential.
I take constant inspiration in these turbulent times, from seeing mature people stand up, vulnerable to the temporary pain that comes from seeing the imperative for change and still choosing it.
So the next time someone says “You’re no better’, thank them for that reminder that none of us is better than the other, but that all of us can be better than we were.