right and wrong
by Ipsa Liberalis
The best observation on rightness and wrongness I have seen was made by a dear friend of mine a few years ago. She said:
"Being wrong feels the same as being right."
Beyond that, I can't quote exactly, but she is right. It feels exactly the same to be wrong as it does to be right. Being wrong only feels bad when we absorb the embarrassment of it, when we feel the hot licks of shame on our necks, when we feel the pit of remorse in our stomachs.
This is a feeling not everyone can handle. As we get more justified in the value of our own feelings, even fewer of us can deal with these negative emotions. "I feel right, so that's enough."
So, this is where I'll tell you that I have often been wrong in my life. I have been wrong when it really mattered. I have done wrong with the confidence that what I was doing was right. I have been wrong when other people have assured me I was right.
I said in my Xmas post that I'm an atheist. I was born and then baptized as an Episcopalian, one of the "good" Christianities as far as I can tell, but in listening closely to what I heard at church, I decided that for all its good, it wasn't right.
I don't believe in god, but I could be wrong.
This week, on facebook, a friend of mine shared an image about how the Salvation Army is not a charity, but a Christian denomination, and how it wasn't one of the "good" Christianities, but instead one of those that worked against the LGBTQ communities, so don't give your money to them. She got accosted on said post by someone she didn't even know for posting that, and I went to back her up, because I agree. (For reference, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Salvation_Army#Controversy)
I think the Salvation Army hates gays, but I could be wrong.
Through the 'magic' of facebook, my brother-in-law saw my support of my friend. He decided to message me directly about it. It was the first time in 11 years he messaged me directly, and it was to tell me to shut up about Salvation Army, and that I was wrong. He tried to shame me, embarrass me, make me feel remorse, all of the things about wrongness that makes us feel bad. When I declared I wouldn't shut up about it, that the Salvation Army and other religious organizations do everything they can to undermine civil liberties for the LGBTQ communities, he became ever more condescending about it, and me, and how I should just listen to him.
He might be right, but it never occurred to him that he could be wrong.
As such, I was hardly swayed to his point of view.
I think that, more important than being wrong or right, the most important thing of all is being kind. The worst times I have been wrong in my life are the times when I have been unkind. The worst times that I have been wronged in my life are the times when others have been unkind to me.
And because the drive of this blog is about liberalism in general and my liberalism specifically, I'll end in a political vein. To me, liberalism is about kindness. It's about care. It's about making sure people get enough to eat, and a place to shelter, and an education, and to see a doctor when they need to. I think we, as a populace, as a government, need to extend these kindesses to everyone, not just the lucky, select few (white, middle and upper class),
The government needs to be big enough to take care of its citizens, but I could be wrong.
I'm not about change my mind without some serious evidence, delivered to me in a kind and respectful way. I've been wrong before, and I can handle it should that be the case again. Only time will tell. I'm confident, though, that in Kindness, the odds of my being wrong are less.