When I see see a Facebook post asking me to like something I find absolutely abhorrent I wonder why my Facebook friend posted it. I wonder about her feelings or her experience or her perspective. I don't unfriend her.
When I see a cop kick and punch and beat a young black man I wonder how that cop reached that point. What led him to such violence and anger? Was he afraid? I don't condemn him. I don't scream for his suspension.
When I hear that a cop has been murdered I wonder how could his murderer be driven to that horrendous action. What kind of life did he lead? How could he commit such an act? I don't rush to judge him. I don't want to kill him in retaliation.
When I hear a 15 year old child has committed murder I wonder what circumstances led to that. I imagine that she must regret it. I wonder what kind of childhood she must have had. I don't condemn her. I don't judge her. I don't want to try her as an adult.
When I see that a student is grieving over the election and has missed a test I hope she's ok. I hope it gets better for her. I don't tell her she's a whiny baby.
When a young teen gets pregnant I wonder who failed her. Who got her pregnant? Does she know what's ahead for her? I don't tell her that she's a slut.
When a woman gets an abortion I simply grieve. For her and her unborn child. I do not question her choice. I know I have no right.
When a young family goes on welfare I don't ask them why they had so many children they can't afford. I just hope they get the help they need. I don't want to make their lives even harder. I want to provide them information and knowledge. I want to empower them.
When I see that someone is protesting I don't sneer with derision. I imagine the circumstances that led to them being at that rally, or on that street, holding that sign. I'm happy they care. I'm glad they are standing up.
When a protest turns violent I am sad. I don't presume to know what it's like to have walked in their shoes. I research and listen. How can they be doing those things? Feeling that rage? Where did that powerlessness come from?
When someone leaves their baby in a hot car and it dies I know they must be grieving. Filled with regret. Going over it again and again in their mind. Thinking about how their baby must have felt. I don't viciously call for their arrest. I want to cry.
When a texting teen or drunk driver kills someone else I am filled with anguish for them and their victims. I know they made mistakes. I'm sure they know they've made mistakes. I know they'll face the consequences. I know it all sucks and nothing can make it better now. I don't waste any time talking about how horrible they are.
There is room in my heart for all of this and more, but of course that doesn’t matter. Not one bit. My heart, my compassion, my pity, my forgiveness, won't help anyone after the mistakes have been made. But, maybe, if everyone could be a little more kind, a little more tolerant, more compassionate, less angry, less sitting in judgement, less poised to vote someone off the island as soon as possible, maybe we’d be able to more effectively help out our fellow man, and keep them from screwing up, avoiding their mistakes and more. Maybe.
There but for the grace of God go I. I think that if you don't try to understand, if you just call for the drawing and quartering of every wrong-doer, then you're kind of a bully. This is my 99th blog post. One of my very first posts back in 2012 was about how reality TV was exposing what bullies Americans are. Most reality TV show make me squirm and wince. All the humiliation, the rejection, the gloating. I can't watch. I think it's mean.
So I wonder - what makes a bully? Why are you so mean? So unkind? So ready and willing to judge and condemn. I'm sorry for you and I wish I could help you, but you probably don't want my help.
I am thankful I am not a bully.