If you pose no threat, I’m not afraid

phobia

phobia (n): a combining form meaning “fear,” occurring in loanwords from Greek (hydrophobia); on this model, used in the names of mental disorders that have the general sense “dread of, aversion toward” that specified by the initial element.

I found out about a new word this morning, at least it’s new to me: Islamophobic.

I’m not always up on the latest trends or lingo, but I had to chuckle a bit when I saw this one because it’s becoming common place to prefix the words “phobia” and “phobic” with anything that will create a label describing people who have different views.  I’m sure that in some cases there are extremists who are actually afraid of whatever is referred to, but I’d like to be clear that I’m not, nor are any of the people I associate with who share my views.

If something poses a direct threat to me, or to people who matter to me, then yes, I’m afraid of it.  I’m afraid of extreme heights because I know that if I fall I will probably die.  I’m afraid of people with guns because I don’t want to be shot, people with knives because I don’t want to be stabbed.  I’m afraid of horror movies because my mind holds onto images and I have nightmares and I don’t like that.  You get the picture.  But even at that, I don’t believe any of my fears would be serious enough to be called a phobia.  I don’t think they are mental disorders.

I assume from what I have read recently that I would be considered part of the group of Islamophobes.  But I’m not afraid of Muslims, nor do I hate them.  I don’t personally know any Muslims but I’m certain many of them are kind and loving people who hope for a peaceful existence just like I do.  If I had the opportunity to meet and get to know someone who is Muslim, I would be happy to do so.  I am, however, afraid of sharia law.  I’m afraid of losing my own rights and protections that I have enjoyed all my life in this country.  So if a Muslim person poses no threat to me, I am not afraid.  But if they work to take away my rights and impose their law on me, I will fear them. Does this make me Islamophobic?  Does it mean I have a mental disorder?  I don’t believe so.  It simply makes me a human who is uncomfortable with certain people who promise to change my existence for what I perceive to be the worse.  I resent being labelled as a “phobic” just because I have a different view of whether or not it’s OK to make allowances for certain people who promise to impose their views on me regardless of whether or not I want to accept them.  Does the fact that some of these people have a different view of my beliefs make them Christianphobes? or Democraphobes?

In the same vein, I’m not afraid of homosexual or transgendered people.  I’ve personally encountered more than one person who is gay, I’ve also personally known more than one, and I’ve never felt threatened by them.  I’ve never had reason to see them as people to fear.  I am certain that most of these people are kind and loving human beings who hope for a peaceful existence just like I do.  I am, however, afraid of losing my personal rights and freedoms.  I don’t fear – and definitely don’t hate, for that matter – gay and transgendered people, their perspectives or their lifestyles.  But if they work to take away my rights and impose things on me that make me feel unsafe or unprotected, I will fear the result of their actions.  Does this make me homophobic?  Does it mean I have a mental disorder?  I don’t believe so.  It simply makes me a human who is uncomfortable with certain people who insist on getting their own way at the expense of others.  I resent being labelled as a “phobic” just because I have a different view of whether or not it is OK to make allowances for certain people who seek their own comfort at the expense of mine.  Does the fact that some of these people have a different view of my beliefs make them Heterophobes?

As an aside, I find it interesting, especially in discussions surrounding the homosexual and transgendered community, that any implication connecting sexual orientation to psychological conditions is considered offensive.  Yet the same group of people will refer to opposing views – such as mine – as a mental disorder by labelling it a phobia.

I don’t consider people who share different views than mine to be afraid of me, even if they disagree strongly.  I wouldn’t label someone an Annophobe!  I think that this trend of making up words that end in phobia just to describe differing views is ridiculous and not at all helpful in mending fences.  I prefer to deal with people themselves and in every group – whether people are grouped by religion, gender, sexual orientation, or preferred pizza toppings – there are going to be some who are reasonable and some who are not.  And I don’t believe the word phobia has any place in our discussions or along our path to discovering our differences, our similarities, our hopes, or our vision for a peaceful existence.

For anyone who hasn’t already heard me say it, I would defend anyone’s right to be treated with dignity, no matter who they are, and I would like to think that most people, Muslim, gay, or anyone else would do the same for me.  I believe when it comes right down to it, most people want to live in peace.  It is of those who openly indicate that the fight is more important to them than anything else that I am afraid.

Just so damn tired …

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This is not about sleep, although as I reflect on what I’m writing it does make me wish I could just sleep through it all and wake up to find it was just a dream.

I’m tired and overwhelmed and I’m beginning to understand why some older people say that the world is moving too fast and they are done, they’ve seen enough, it’s all becoming too much.

But I’m only fifty-one.

I just want to know what the rules are before I leave my house each day and walk out into the public areas where I will encounter other humans.  At home, I don’t have to worry about having the wrong facial expression or saying the wrong thing.  I don’t have to make sure everything is filtered through a politically correct sieve so that I’m not violating any laws.  I can use the bathroom in peace.

Yes, I am going down that road; whether or not you go with me is up to you.  At any moment, you can close the internet window you’re using to read this post but, if you don’t, be ready for what comes next, and please don’t complain because here, in my own space, I get to say how I feel, what I think, how I view the world.  And if you are going to read it, please read ALL of it and not just the parts that reinforce what you think I mean.

I’m tired of watching our society turn into something evil.  Too dramatic for you?  I use real words for real things.  There is loud, in your face, obvious evil.  And there is subtle, flying under the radar, betcha most people don’t quite notice yet evil.  But there’s no difference.

I’m tired of turning on my computer or turning on the TV to see more news about how morality is being stomped on in favour of supposed “tolerance”.  Tolerance in our society right now is a one-way street.  If you deny that, you’re not paying attention, and you probably won’t pay attention until some random line somewhere is crossed – a line that you have drawn for yourself based on nothing more than your own judgment of when and where to limit the evil – and suddenly you can’t believe it.  I’ve heard it happen in conversations and I’ve had no words because to reply would have meant nothing to people who are so deceived as to think that THEIR line is the final straw.

I’m tired of watching governments trample and spit on the personal rights and freedoms of large groups of people because someone else is “uncomfortable”, while I’m not allowed to express my discomfort without being labeled as a bigot, homophobic or charged with some hate crime.

I’m tired of trying to put forth an attitude of sympathy for all and encouraging rules and agreements that respect everyone without forcing one agenda over another.  No one wants to hear that anymore.  If you think I’ve never done it, you’re not paying attention (for example Gender Neutral? Let’s get Comfortable …)  It’s gone too far the other way and no matter how much I give in the discussions about fairness and dignity and personal rights, these groups just keep taking more and forcing their agenda so that many others must suffer the discomfort that they are declaring to be unjust and professing to correct.  This is not tolerance; it’s abusive, the government is participating in it and forcing it on us, and too many people are turning a blind eye because THEIR line has not yet been crossed.

I will reiterate what I have often said:  I believe that all people – regardless of race, religion, sexual identity – should be treated with human dignity.  I do not condone abuse of anyone and I would stand up for any person – gay, straight, bi-sexual, transgendered, black, white, or in any other way considered a mistreated minority – if they were being bullied, abused, taunted, or discriminated against privately or publicly in my presence because of their particular situation, even if it was in a public bathroom.  But people don’t actually hear this because they have names for people like me who choose to separate behaviours and attitudes from the actual person themselves.  They want to keep things lumped together all the time so that if I don’t like something someone does, or if my moral view differs while I try to be kind to a human being, they can call me hateful and tell me I’m afraid (homophobic) and that if I’m going to love a person I also have to love what they do.

THEY make the rules.  Some will say that the reason this happens now is because for so long it’s been the other way around.  But we’re not on a school playground with some tit-for-tat system where the ball was hogged by one group and now they have to give it up to the other group and go play with something else.  Recognizing that we need to be more understanding of things as we become more enlightened than we were before, does not mean that the best and only way to grow and progress is to swing the pendulum all the way over to the other side.  If what is desired is fairness and tolerance for ALL, they are failing miserably and it will only be a matter of time before the group beginning to feel oppression now will revolt later, swing things back, and nothing will have been gained.

I do not believe that any of these people have a right to take away my own comfort or the comfort and privacy rights of children just because they can, and then cry foul if I don’t like it.  But I’m tired.

I’m feeling the apathy creeping up on me day by day and I find myself just being grateful that I have no children left to raise in a messed up world, that mine are grown and removed from so much that is now going to hurt children.  I feel for parents who have to wade through all this, being squashed at every turn and forced into line by peers, by laws.

So I just want to know what the rules are so I can get through the rest of my life without landing in jail because of some word that I shouldn’t have said, or some reaction I shouldn’t have had.

So far, this is what I know: if another person is feeling discomfort, I must allow them to do whatever they wish, wherever they wish.  If I feel discomfort, I must shut up because it doesn’t matter and no one cares.  I think I have that straight now.  Wait, can I say “straight” in this context?  I hope so.

bully

If I don’t post for a while, it might be because I’m just tired.  Or it might be because someone shared this post and I am under investigation for a crime.  I’ve proofread it pretty well just in case, but you never know…