Friday, May 30, 2014


I am getting so tired of "isms". It seems as if every time I read or hear about a difference of opinion anywhere an "ism" is hurled. If someone does not agree with your point of view and you have run out of facts to support you point of view all you need to do is call out "ism" and the other person is to feel chastised and to cease and desist from any further argument. After all no one wants to be branded as an "ist".

Common sense is what we need to employ here. An opinion hurts no one. Actions are what causes damage.

I am not talking "sticks and stones". Certainly a physical attack will cause damage. But those words and hurtful names can hurt too. What I am talking about is a calm sharing of thoughts and opinions.

I like nothing more than a good intellectual exchange of ideas. I have even been known to change my mind on occasion as well as to change someone else's mind. But they are calm discussions in which we try to respect the other person. And I am entitled to my own opinion as is the other person.

No person should ever, I repeat ever, intentionally hurt another living thing. Ever. The unintentional sometimes happens. That is what a sincere "I am sorry" is for.

Now with all that being said I have some gripes. The first thing that comes to mind is "A boy should never hit a girl". Of course he should not hit a girl. A girl should not hit a boy. If one person hits another they should expect to be hit right back. In fact law takes that into account.

If a person strikes you, you are entitled to respond in kind. That does not mean that if a person slaps your face you can beat them half to death. It means you have the right to slap them back to let them know that you will not accept the disrespect shown by the original slap.

I know that is counter to many religious and societal teachings. If you choose not to respond to an assault you have that right too.

But think about this. If a little boy has been slapped by a little girl he has two choices. If he does not respond in kind she will feel that it is acceptable to slap him whenever she feels like it. If he slaps her back she will not slap him again because she thinks he will slap her back. But if he then goes home and is punished for hitting a girl what message is he receiving? The message is that if he stands up for himself he will be punished anyway. He is wrong no matter what.

Equality among people is also a common sense issue. Is one person better than another? If so, why? If anyone can explain to me how one person is better than another I am ready to listen.

By equal I do not mean the same. My uncle was a track star. I cannot run without twisting my ankles. Is he a better person than me? My mother was an accomplished artist. I cannot draw a good stick figure. Is she better than me? My grandfather was a farmer and made things grow for the good of society. I cannot grow a houseplant. Is he better than me? My mother-in-law could do an instant read on people to know whether they were honest or not. I usually have to get burned a time or two to gain a little wisdom. Is she better than me? Of course not .

I have my own talents and value. So does everyone else. No two people are the same. Even identical twins develop different interests. So we are diverse but equal.

Are famous movie stars better people than we are? Are rich people better than poor people. Are men better than women? Is one race better than another. Is a physically disabled person better than a "normal" person? Is a person who likes baseball better than a person who likes football? This could go on forever.

There are "ists". Sometimes they use their "isms" as an excuse to inflict pain of one kind or another on other people. But it is still the actions that caused the pain not the "ism". Acting on those "isms" is what is causing all the trouble.

Some people want to pass laws outlawing "isms". I certainly understand their thinking. But can we control another person's thoughts?

What we can control is actions. There are laws concerning actions. If you hurt someone there are legal consequences. So if someone breaks the law by using an "ism" as an excuse they should expect to have to pay a legal consequence. Each case to be decided on its own merits (or demerits).

There you have it. Common sense. All we need to do is remember the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It is not rocket science, right?

So leave me alone about "isms". I am tired of them. Let's try to find a better way to solve some real problems.


  1. When I was a little boy, one of the funnest social activities I engaged in was wrestling with my friends. Always, these encounters began with a shout, "Hey, no hitting!" I believe this same proviso should preside intact for all subsequent social interactions in life. It's not an ism, just no hitting. Why is it so difficult for nations and religions to understand a rule kids set out so easily?

    1. I have no idea. It seems so easy to me... just do your own thing and do not hurt anybody.

  2. So many thought provoking points in this post, Emma. It is clear to me that this is a topic about which you have given much thought. Certainly actions very often hurt more than words, but many times words can wound just as well and perhaps for even a longer period. I just listed to a program on this topic and it brought up memories of things said to me years ago. Sadly, people hurt others whether by physical or emotional violence.

    1. It can be true that the pain brought by words will last longer than physical abuse. Wounds heal; it takes a little longer for feelings.