Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

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"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

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~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Monday, June 29, 2015

Down With Conformity

I came of age in the Sixties when conformity was a bad word. Everyone wanted to be different, to act different, to rebel. I did my own share of rebelling to be sure, but I never did drugs.

When I got to college and went to a few parties and saw unpleasant results of alcohol, I stopped drinking and stopped going places where people would be drinking.

When I transferred to the University of Illinois my sophomore year, drugs were hitting campus big time and what I noticed was that the people who seemed most against conformity were all looking and acting and thinking exactly alike.

Rebellion had become the new conformity. It made me turn away from rebellion and become my own kind of non-conformist.

I see this happening everywhere in our world today. People are afraid to express an opinion that differs from what's socially and politically acceptable. If you do, things can get ugly. You get called names like racist, homophobic, religious nut case, far right Republican, a bigot, intolerant.

I am none of those things, yet I have my own thoughts about issues, and I will rarely express them because if I'm not conforming to the politically correct view, then I'm something ugly.

What ever happened to free speech? What ever happened to a thinking society and open discussion of issues? It's like we're going backward in time to a society crippled by prejudice and fear and strict conformity.

I am so tired of the name-calling, the hostility, the ranting back and forth. People are unfollowing and unfriending on social media, and probably in real life, when they find out their friends have the "wrong" political ideas. Did you know in Hollywood there are closet Republicans? People afraid to be found out for their political and religious beliefs for fear of losing their jobs.

I don't care what side you're on politically, just stop it. Everyone should just stop it.

By the way, in case you think you know my views and can categorize me, you're wrong. I have a gay son and I'm very happy he is with such a fine person as his partner. I know neither of them chose to be the way they are, and I wish them all the happiness that is possible to them in this world. But marriage? Marriage is ordained of God and is between a man and a woman.

Let the name calling and unfollowing begin.

15 comments:

  1. I'm not one who is going to unfollow...or name call !!!

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  2. I got one unfollow already, expecting more to come.

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  3. Hahahaaa-You go girl! I have friends who are gay and my niece is gay. I am for gay marriage because, to me, it is a union of love and marriage is one form of that expression to publicly unite to people who feel strongly about their love for each other. Now...that is my belief but to get upset about your view would just make me feel immature and judgemental. We need differing views because that is what makes us human. Some people become very uncomfortable with this and that is their loss. It is when we get angry at someone or something that we lose control and lose our own perspective. It is better to disagree but keep the respect. Jimmy Stewart was a Republican and Henry Fonda was a Democrat. They were the best of friends for 50 years-isn't that wonderful!

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    1. Birgit, I honor and respect your view on gay marriage and appreciate the sentiments you so very well stated. I also like your Hollywood perspective on the friendship of Jimmy Stewart and Henry Fonda. I didn't know about that. I do know that Orrin Hatch and Ted Kennedy have been very good friends for many many years working together on committees despite their different political views. This is what I wish there was more of-- people able to express different opinions without getting blasted by hateful rhetoric. People on both sides of issues are guilty of it, so I've come to believe it isn't the issue so much as it is immature, small-minded people who can't bear to listen to any opinions or ideas except their own. Besides, like my mom always used to say, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

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  4. Living in and around Berkeley, I can attest that non-conformity is its own orthodoxy. Very few people are truly independent thinkers. If you can find one, cleave to them. They will teach you what real concinence and real thinking is about.
    I have a hard time casting stones. My sins, mostly of cowardice, are many.

    Speak up, Farm girl! You earned it in spades.

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    1. "Non-conformity is its own orthodoxy." That's a brilliant way of putting it. I think those of us who hesitate to express any opinion varying from the accepted rule of order are all feeling pretty cowardly right now. Maybe I just read one too many status somewhere that said in so many words "will block/unfriend/unfollow anyone who doesn't support bla bla bla"

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  5. I did not choose to be heterosexual either, lol.

    It should be ok to have a stated opinion about an issue. Discussion is good for free thinking. Too bad the world is so "offended" by non-violent, non-pushy stands on personal preference. People are just too sensitive now days. In a world that states it supports diversity, it sure is unhealthy to actually BE different. Where did we leave off respect for others?

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  6. We need to be able to state our opinions without fear. I think those days are gone. It's awful. And yes I'm losing friends.

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  7. It's ironic that those who demand freedom of speech and inalienable rights are also the first to denounce those who disagree with their stance. Or at least that's how it looks like to me.

    I agree with everything you've said. I would never unfollow someone because their beliefs were different than mine. I think you are both courageous and honorable and I'm proud to say I know you.

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  8. I just love your opening sentence. Made me pause and gave me all sorts of visuals. ;) You became your own non-conformist. I like that. I'm banking it the brain. Think I could apply that same mind frame to writing.

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  9. I think that it's so important to really think through and articulate your beliefs. One of the things I learned when I left college is that if I couldn't really explain my feelings or express them in a way that made logical sense, then maybe I needed to rethink them. Often with students I hear them making blanket statements that they think settles an issue, but if you ask them why they think that or what brought them to that conclusion, they can't answer. I figured that my feelings don't represent reality (for example, I hate guacamole, but that doesn't mean no one should eat it or I should never serve it), so I better have backup for whatever belief I espouse. This worked pretty well for me, and honestly, Karen, it seems to me that this is what you did as well.

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    1. I hope so, Charly! It seems like so many people are just saying what they think everyone wants them to say without thinking it through or examining all sides of an issue. To me, this is the worst kind of conformity.

      How in the world can you not like guacamole????

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  10. Well, I don't agree with you on the marriage thing - but that doesn't mean we can't still get along right? I haven't unfollowed!

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    1. Simon, that is my whole point! Why can't people disagree on a hot topic like gay marriage but still be civil and friendly? And respect one another's right to have differences of opinion without getting all upset and angry over it?

      Thank you for not unfollowing me, since you were my first follower who wasn't someone I already knew. That's a long time we've been blogging friends!

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