Several weeks ago, I wrote about Kindness, which is, to me, the most valuable human attribute. I believe in its power to help, and to make the world a better place in which to live.
Today, I’m concerning myself with its opposite: Cruelty.
Cruelty has become fashionable. I don’t understand why.
Earlier this week I saw a post on a News Page that talked about Anti Trump protesters being splashed, twice, with snow, water, and ice by a man driving by them, at high speeds, down a street with a snow plow attached to the front of his truck. The street was in no need of plowing. It was perfectly navigable, but there was still snow and ice on its edges. This was not a city worker. He was a private citizen. He did this intentionally because he disapproved of the protesters.
These were Anti Trump protesters, but, to be clear, he would have been equally wrong if the people, who were all in excess of 60 years old, had been Trump supporters. This isn’t about politics.
I read through the comments on the article. People were congratulating him. They were laughing about people they don’t like being hurt.
I posted that I found that horrible. 15 some odd people liked my comment. Quite a number of others, though, told me I was wrong.
Some of the comments included the following:
- Fred Eder how were they hurt? Maybe wet but hurt. I forgot their precious feelings.
Feelings do count to liberals.
- liberal BS!!
- He was covering unsightly garbage with fresh clean snow. Should get an award for making his city more beautiful.
- Love it. Good for the plow driver
For me, those comments are cruel. They do nothing to help anyone. They are taking delight in the misfortune of others.
There are, in fact, kind Conservatives in the world. They can be intelligent, decent people, just as Liberals can. And there are mean and cruel Liberals in the world. They can be foolish, horrible people, just as Conservatives can.
My concern is that we take delight in bad things happening to those we don’t like. We refer to one another with epithets such as “Snowflake,” or “Libtard,” or “RepuliKKKans,” as though this somehow proves a point.
There is no need to agree with one another on every topic. In fact, it’s unnecessary to agree with each other on nearly anything. One of the women I most admire in the world disagrees with me about everything from politics to the afterlife. But I admire and love her because she is Kind. She is respectful in her disagreement. She cares about my well-being as I care about hers. We encourage one another in our enterprises.
Cruelty isn’t an ideology. It’s a form of immaturity, and it hurts others. It makes the conversations that we need to have in order to solve our problems all but impossible.
I contend that feelings are part of the human experience. They are the reason we bother to exist at all. Without them, nothing has any meaning.
Sometimes feelings will get hurt. That’s a part of life. When I ask a woman out, and she says no, my feelings are likely to be hurt. That’s inevitable. And she doesn’t owe it to me to go out with me because my feelings will be hurt if she doesn’t. All she owes me is a polite no. And there’s not a thing wrong with her for saying no. I’ve come to expect it so much that I never bother to ask anyone out anymore. It’s no fun to be turned down, and it might make her feel uncomfortable. She’s not cruel. She’s just not attracted to me.
But to go out of one’s way to hurt feelings is cruel. No one is helped by it.
I understand if you’re not concerned with helping others. You don’t owe that, I suppose, to anyone. But that doesn’t mean you need to make the lives of others worse.
If you can’t be Kind, you can at least refrain from Cruelty. Join me in that. Please.