Key phrase: “We must deal with the world as it is and not as we wish it to be.” If you can move past the nasty implication that some people wish for a world with no gay people, this is pretty interesting. I think this idea lies at the heart of a lot of contentious social issues. We cannot force people to fit into neat cookie-cutter shapes that appeal to us personally. We must work within reality. Anything else leads to suffering for large swaths of people.
I’m sharing this for a few reasons, none of them having anything to do with Jimmy Carter in particular.
First, to recognize that we all build narratives about everything and everyone around us to make our world easier to understand. In so doing, we can have very simplistic views of people, events, and so on. It’s human nature, so the only thing to do us to be aware of this tendency and try to not always interpret everything to fit our nice, neat little narratives.
Second, to suggest that we owe some kindness, even to politicians and others in the public eye.
Finally, to remember that no story is ever black or white, and no person is ever perfectly good or perfectly bad. After reading this article, I’m sure I could find a dozen others discussing Carter’s alleged antisemitism in great detail. If he is antisemitic, that doesn’t mean any of the good stuff about him isn’t true. He isn’t an angel or a demon. He’s a person.
This guy was fucking amazing. Period.
I know that fat jokes are one of those things that are still considered acceptable by most people. You know, not usually to fat people’s faces, but behind their backs or just as general commentary. It seems that it’s okay to be disgusted by or hateful of heavier people because they are, as most people assume and to the contrary of a lot of research, fat through their own choices. Many people assume that fat people could so easily just change their lifestyles, lose weight in a healthy manner, and keep it off indefinitely with just a little effort. However, that’s a story for another day.
This blog post is more about politics and ad hominem attacks. Politics is a nasty business, and people who go into it know what they’re getting into. Still, I think we should always be held to the same standard. Would you call someone on the street fat, or make other cruel, unsolicited remarks about their weight? Would you want someone to do that to you, your sister, your husband? Why should the rules be different for a politician, even if you don’t agree with their politics or what they stand for? Isn’t it more powerful to talk about the things they did that you don’t agree with, and talk about why you disagree?
I know the internet tends to bring out this sort of nastiness, but I still refuse to accept it. Condoning it even on one (digital) platform means accepting it as OK everywhere else too.