I’ve never trusted anyone who ever says this. It seems to be social code for “Why can’t we all just march in lock step with my own personal political, religious or theoretical ideology?” The last person that I heard banging the old WCWAJGA? drum was a very popular blogger who asked why there was so much hate in the world. Then his blog post became a massive commercial for the Affordable Health Care Act, an abandonment to personal beliefs and a request for more people to visit his blog so he could make more money watching wrestling on TV. OK, probably not the last, but you get my point. Anyone who tells you “Why can’t we all just get along?” suffers from what I call WCWAJGA syndrome. It’s the inevitable belief that if everybody just thought and acted like you do, society’s problems would all be solved, in spite of the fact that you are just as mortal and prone to mistakes as anybody else.
A couple of weeks ago, I read this story about how there was a major protest to the Ender’s Game opening, urging people to not attend lest they should give money to Orson Scott Card, because of his beliefs regarding same-sex marriage. Apparently because the writer of a Nebula-Award winning book holds one view that you don’t agree with, you should abort any effort to see one of your childhood books turn to the silver screen. Apparently he should have thought about that thirty years ago when he wrote the book. You know, before anybody gave same-sex marriage a second glance.
On a similar note, there was a similar protest against JC Penny when they came out with this commercial starring Ellen DeGeneres because of her homosexual leanings. Really? It’s not like Lesbianism is contagious. And I thought it was a funny commercial, all said and done. I’m sure she is really hurt that you aren’t spending money on a job she’s already been paid for. Oh, and she’s going to be Dory again, and if her last performance is any indicator, she’s going to be brilliant again in this reprisal.
In both of these cases, the person being protested is an entertainer. Orson Scott Card isn’t calling for rounding up all gay people and putting them in a 12-step program to bend them straight, and Ellen didn’t make the commercial to convert the world into an all-lesbian society. Last time I checked, both of these people, though celebrities, do not dictate public policy, nor are they allowed an opinion any less than anybody else.
A final example before I get to my point is the recent events in Mike Rowe’s life. If you don’t know who he is, Mike Rowe is the host of the show Dirty Jobs where he does various jobs around the country that most of us wouldn’t consider. He’s one of the few celebrities that I follow closely because I often agree with his views on work ethic, the reward of a good, honest day’s work, and the legitimacy of the blue-collar job. He was recently interviewed by talk show host, Glenn Beck. I haven’t seen the interview, but Mike was blasted by some of his viewers stating that they couldn’t believe he would interview with such a “Horrible and psychotic person such as Glenn Beck.” Mike’s response was right in line with my point of view.
“To be clear, I’m not here to tell you what to think or whom to hate. Like everyone else, you’re free to pick your devils, choose your angels, and attach the horns and halos accordingly.
But the guts of your question – even without all the name-calling and acrimony – reveal the essence of what’s broken in our country. You want to know ‘how I can associate’ with someone you don’t like? The short answer is, how can I not? How are we ever going to accomplish anything in this incredibly divisive time if we associate only with people that we don’t disagree with?”
Before I get blasted as a racist homophobe, a godless gay sympathizer, or a talk radio mindless zombie, let me get to the real gist of this post.
I’ve never been a fan of the WCWAJGA syndrome. As I mentioned before, you should never trust anyone who wants us all to get along. They just want you to do what they want you to do. If I were to interject one facet of my own desire into society, it would be this: Civility.
We are walking into the next big Thanksgiving season, which is a large holiday many believe is built around the idea of entire families arguing over a table about how everybody else is wrong. Here’s my take: if they’re wrong, let them be wrong. Nobody learns anything from being right all the time. Politicians have believed they’ve been nothing but right for centuries, and they still haven’t gotten it down. If your opinion is so weak that the only way you can prove it’s correct is by shutting down every other argument, then there is something wrong with your argument. And if the other person acts that way, it’s because, deep down, they know there’s some chinks in their armor. There are a lot of people out there who are very scared. They are losing things like jobs, insurance or ideals. They don’t know how to act, so they do what society expects, and that’s to go in with guns blazing, not caring who gets hurt.
Maybe if we all used a little more civility and treated people (even people we don’t agree with) with a little more dignity, it would salve some of those wounds.
Would it solve society’s problems? Of course not. That’s technically not possible without creating new ones. But it would force a lot of problems back into perspective, and we wouldn’t lose as many friends or family members in the process.
And if all else fails, show them this video. It will help everyone to… you know… just get along.