The debate and divide over who gets to use what bathroom is an interesting debate. We all gotta go – that’s universal. But so often, like most things that divide our culture and nation, we look at things only from left/right perspectives. We think there are only two options – the “right” option and the “wrong” option. We aren’t interested in hearing the other side – why would we, they are wrong. What can we possibly gain by listening. They need to listen to us. Maybe we’ll listen if they listen first.
Sounds more like a pre-schooler fighting over a sandbox with dog crap in it, than an adult discussion about things that matter.
I have seen these same battles play out multiple times before. It’s kind of tiring actually. We forget that actual people are involved, not just abstract policies and soundbites. It’s the “subjective” gender identification side versus the “objective” gender physiology side. If we are going to fight about something, better to make it sound as far removed from being a person as possible – makes it much easier to label people who disagree with you. The subjective and objective are two worlds that don’t revolve around the same sun – two very different ways of looking at the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m on a third planet stuck between the other two warring planets.
Here’s my take on this (because I know you’ve all been dying to hear another take on this, yeah right!). I think both of these sides have valid arguments. Yes, it’s possible to listen to arguments from opposing sides and see how they come to their conclusions. I also think it’s important that everyone have a place to go to the bathroom in a way that can be as comfortable for them as possible – it’s what I think we all want ultimately. That’s the common thread I hear in both sides of this debate. We’re so busy fighting over the way to get there that we’ve lost sight of the fact that both sides ultimately want the same thing – to go to the bathroom in peace. So I’ve come up with a solution – it’s far from perfect, but it’s a solution.
Since we seem to be in society that often demands government involvement in our lives, (regardless of your conservative or liberal political bent) I have a way to solve this divide in a way that should leave both sides of this debate relieved (no pun intended).
We pass a law that requires all businesses/organizations to refurbish their bathrooms to become single-use or family-use unisex bathrooms. And since this is a government requirement, we fund these bathroom changes through a government funded program that pays for a certain level of bathroom changes. While changes are being made to bathrooms, we make all existing bathrooms single use. This will give everyone something in common to complain about – lines. Maybe standing in line will cause us to rethink what we want to complain about and how we want government to dictate every nook and cranny in our lives since we can’t seem to play nice with each other on our own.
The benefit for liberals is that people who gender identify as something different than their plumbing will be able to use the bathroom in peace without anyone looking at them or judging them. They would just be a person going to the bathroom, just like anyone else. Liberals should be happy that government is doing something and keeping in line with more liberal economic theory – it would be government spending money, which should fuel economic growth through contractors doing the labor – according to the theory anyway. Plus you would be able to go in peace without someone showing up in camouflage, or worse, a Trump or Cruz shirt next to your urinal or stall possibly carrying some kind of concealed weapon in the bathroom who might shoot you for wearing your Hillary or Feel the Bern shirt obnoxiously everywhere and believing that you are sticking it to the 1% as you envision peeing on the Koch brothers faces.
The benefit for conservatives would be that you wouldn’t have to worry about who is in the bathroom with you any more – no gays, queer, trans, questioning, people who look weird, someone wearing pink or a Hillary! Or Feel the Bern shirt that will make you want to throw up, etc. It’s just you. It would be the government paying for one of their requirements, not just making an unfunded mandate. It would literally be money going down the toilet, so you’d still be able to complain about government and have a valid argument. But private contractors would be doing the work. All businesses could chose who they wanted to do the work – union or not. And if they are small businesses, even better – they don’t fall under the requirement for Obamacare.
Ultimately, solving the bathroom controversy in this way would do something else – it would give us time to find other ways to divide ourselves and label the other side in some derogatory manner – those idiots, they just don’t get it.
Because in the end, it’s not about what we agree about, it’s how we can be divided on how we get there. I can’t wait to see what the next divide will be!
On second thought, maybe more time sitting on the toilet alone wouldn’t be such a good idea.
Apparently we’re supposed to care what color and what phrases are written on Starbuck’s coffee cups.
Yes, I’ve seen the video. I didn’t think anything of it for a couple of reasons – 1. I don’t drink coffee, so what do I care what Starbucks does with their cups. If you don’t like their cups, don’t go there. You’re probably paying too much for the coffee anyway. 2. It reminded me of a video that an upstart campaign would make.
While most people are going to spend time fighting for or against the guy in the video, I’m going to give you a different perspective and some observations.
Observation #1 – If you want to attract attention, do something controversial. This guy hit this one right on the head apparently. He’s got the full mix of things – He’s pastor. He looks like Paul Blart, Mall Cop. He shows a gun in the video. Starbucks. And the War on Christmas. Combine all that and you have a recipe for controversy.
Observation #2 – If you want something to go viral, either video animals or do something that will get your enemies upset. Either way, you are tugging at people’s emotions. Since I didn’t see any cute kittens, I’m guessing that this guy was going for anger and supposed victimhood.
Observation #3 – The very people who disagree with everything he stated have been the biggest promoters of his video and gave him exactly what he wanted – attention for his message. He ought to be paying these people. I can tell you this much, if I were him, I’d be smiling big time.
This is something I learned in politics – the point of a campaign is to draw attention to yourself and your message. This is why Donald Trump is doing so well. He says outrageous things and guess what, lots of people respond, with lots of name calling and emotion. And when you are attacked, there will be people to come to your defense. And when people do that – they are emotionally investing in you and have more interest in seeing you succeed.
Want to know how to deal with people like this – stop paying attention to them. Stop responding to them. Recognize that the point is to rile up anyone who disagrees with the person. If you respond, what is that actually saying? It says that you feel threatened by this person’s message or this person and have to defend yourself or go on the attack. Why would you do that? Because you believe that there is an actual threat.
Or when you see a video like this you could say – “whatever” and move on with life, never to spend another moment thinking about this, except that you might want to rent Mall Cop 2.
Yesterday I wrote a blog post on worship wars. A friend wrote a comment that captured the essence of what I was writing about perfectly. He wrote in a tongue-in-cheek” manner – “Well obviously, we could just end the worship war if you agree that I’m right. Duh.”
Yeah, so true. And unfortunately so many people buy into that way of thinking. Recently I’ve seen this way of thinking rear its head on a few recent news items – the controversy over Black Lives Matters vs. All Lives Matter, Kim Davis and Donald Trump. Now granted, these are pretty divisive issues for most people. I can’t recall hearing a good conversation on any of these topics between two people who disagree on them. When people who disagree about any these happen to be on the same planet, it’s usually just a debate where emotions run high and people end up saying things that they probably regret later and yet still feel justified in tearing the other person apart because, well, you know, they were right. And of course, each side starts with the belief that they are right and the other side is wrong. Why else would you argue, right? And if you know you are right, then there is no need to take any other view into consideration. Unfortunately I don’t see many people approaching such discussions with an intent on hearing a different perspective or moving closer to truth which may make a person reconsider what they thought was true. I mean, you could still be right, but at least you’d hear how someone came to different conclusion from you and why it makes sense to them. Listening doesn’t mean you have to adopt the other position.
At any rate, we humans are so concerned with being right that often we do or say things that actually hurt our own cause. Here’s an example.
Race – specifically the controversy over Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter. Here’s what I’ll say about this. Pointing out something someone said that you don’t like by disparaging the person that said it is, well, counter productive. I have read comments of people who are critical of the All Lives Matter supporters labeling these people as pea-brained, ignorant, dumb, stupid, etc. I’ve read comments of people who are critical of the Black Lives Matter supporters labeling these people as racist, dangerous, not caring, etc. None of those are exaggerations. Way to bring people in to see things from your perspective. And we wonder why there is a racial divide? If respect for your opinion on this is what you seek, then it might be wise to start by offering respect to those you disagree with. You might actually gain someone who is willing to listen. The golden rule can work in a debate – speak unto others the way you want to be spoken with.
I think the same could be said about a number of topics – certainly Kim David and Donald Trump. Of course, we might come across people who have no interest in talking about any of these topics in a reasonable manner. You can’t control other people or how they interact with the world. What should you do? Well, you could listen anyway to see what you can learn. Thank the person for sharing and move on with your life. You could just walk away, especially if you know the topic is one that will spark an emotional response from yourself. You could offer compassion to the person. You could try challenging yourself to see if you can understand where the person is coming from and how their way of thinking might make sense to them. You could show the person love and respect. You could leave them with some questions to consider – not attacking questions, but what if questions that might get them to see that there are other possibilities. There’s actually many options available. You have to determine what is best in the situation. The point is this – it’s not always best to try to change someone’s mind or opinion on something. Especially if they aren’t open to the possibility that there is another way.
How can you grow crops in a field that is bone dry? You can’t. First you have to prepare the soil to receive the seeds. Debate works the same way. Assess the situation. Is the other person even open to hearing a different way of looking at the topic, or are they so convinced that they are right? If they are sure they are right and there is no possibility there could be another way, it is not best to convince them otherwise, they will just get defensive. The first step is to create an environment where an open and honest discussion could take place. That happens by listening and showing respect and gaining someone’s trust. When that happens, the person might actually seek out your opinion on a subject. Offer it gently – be gentle like you would with a new crop just sprouting through the ground.
This I know – If we want respect, we have to give it. If we want to be heard, we have to listen. If we want love, we have to be willing to love the un-lovable. If we want to move towards the truth, we have to consider the possibility that we may be wrong in some way.
American football is like a religion. And yet, I don’t usually comment on football. But today I’m going to make the rare comment on it. If it’s not my best post, now you know why.
Yeah, I have enjoyed watching football in the past. I’ll admit that I am a lowly Buffalo Bills fan – yes a glutton for punishment in football terms.
Since being here in Finland, I haven’t watched a single game. I don’t really miss it either. But I have kept up with what goes on – how could I not, the Bills were actually half-decent this year.
I’ve been sitting back watching the reaction to Marshawn Lynch’s relationship with the press, fines the NFL has imposed on him and his responses along with the presses responses to him. It’s an interesting spectacle.
This is the story that just keeps going – kudos to Marshawn and the NFL for drawing attention to themselves. The gist of it is that Lynch doesn’t like talking to the press and the NFL has rules that says that players have to talk to the press. You can see some of the typical talk about this in this article on ESPN with video.
This whole spectacle showcases a few things about professional football in general.
a. The NFL is a business that is primarily interested in making money.
b. The attention this “controversy” raises is great for business.
c. How the NFL gets away with being a non-profit organization is amazing.
d. What people are drawn to is controversy.
This reminds me of Ancient Rome – sports had taken on a level of importance equal to religion and state. In fact, it became synonymous with the two and was a part of them. Rome was all about the spectacle – it kept people entertained and occupied so they wouldn’t have to think about how crappy their lives were. They could watch some other poor schlep being killed by a gladiator or wild animal and be glad it wasn’t them. They could justify it by saying it was part of what it meant to be Roman. Sport took on religious significance. I wonder how much sport has taken on religious significance in modern American.