Friday, April 04, 2014

you know what?

I'm sick of political "purity tests" for people.

You know, if you hint that maybe, just, you know, maybe, it might be kind of okay if a photographer with strong beliefs to the contrary doesn't want to take on the job of photographing a same-sex wedding, you suddenly become one to be shunned as a wrong-thinker.

Or, if you mention shopping at Hobby Lobby, because that's literally the only craft store within 100 miles, you're told "Oh, they oppress women (because, apparently, they won't give their workers the Plan B pill for free). You shouldn't shop there."

Those are extreme examples but increasingly I hear that kind of talk - that no matter what else you do, if you disagree, even slightly - or maybe fundamentally agree but note that there are complexities to the issue - you're an awful person.

Here's the thing - I've known people who would pass the most progressive "purity tests" out there - and they were huge (forgive the word but it's the only one that fits) douchebags. Just awful to other people, selfish, ungenerous, snarky.

And I've known people who said stuff about certain minorities, or about gay people, that made me cringe quite a bit - but then, it turned out, when they actually wound up working alongside a man they knew to be gay? They weren't awful to him. They didn't say anything. Because, you know, individuals matter. And while the person I'm talking about didn't agree with the way the man was living his life, they were smart enough to know that there are things you don't butt in about.

I have friends who are gay but I admit I'm still conflicted on the idea of requiring,by law,  say, an extremely devout Catholic to cater their wedding* because....well, because. On the one hand, yeah, discrimination is wrong and if this same Catholic person refused to cater a black heterosexual couple's wedding (or a black guy marrying a white woman's wedding), I'd be very unhappy and probably not ever want to patronize that caterer.....but matters of faith get difficult and prickly.

(*same-sex marriage is not recognized currently in my state, and anyway, this couple, I don't know that they'd want to do the big wedding thing. And at any rate: they're too nice of people to go to some caterer who would be uncomfortable with the idea and say "You WILL cater our wedding or we will call the government on you.")

I don't know. I tend to take the opinion that I go where I'm wanted, and don't go where I'm not. I'm a single woman. When I eat in restaurants, much of the time it's by myself. Some restaurants and some waiters understandably don't like that. (I do tip fairly generously). If I go to a restaurant and get the vibe of "We really would vastly prefer you were with a party of three others, or part of a family" I go "meh" and cross them off my list of places to go to again. But I don't go in, guns figuratively a-blazing, and demand that they serve me, and they serve me NOW and they put me at the BEST TABLE IN THE HOUSE. Because that's being a (sorry, again) douchebag.

And really, a restaurant that doesn't want me there? Why am I paying them? Why not go to the other fine establishments around here who actually seem happy to see me when I show up? And yeah, I get it: in some cases that baker may be the only baker in town. Or the only one worth going to. And that's unfortunate.

But, I don't know. I get so tired of being told, "Do this" or "Don't do that" when my reality suggests those things aren't really possible. Or that all the other good I do with my life is magically undone because I sometimes buy groceries at the wal-mart rather than driving the two-hour (!) round trip to get to a Central Market or somewhere. (And I guess Whole Foods is now no longer so ideologically pure? Am I remembering right?)

The whole thing just makes me freaking tired. Like I said: I tend to judge people on how they treat other individuals: are they generally nice to other people or are they generally jerks to other people? Or are there particular people they're jerks to because that person is a member of a certain group? But I tend to think that deciding someone's a jerk because they really, really need some rick-rack for their daughter's dress, and they really need it NOW, and the only place to get it is the Hobby Lobby....well.

Life is complicated and I think the problem is that people are trying to simplify it down to sets of binary choices that don't necessarily apply.

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