The closer the U.S. gets to election time, the more it feels like a force feed. I’ve been on a serious news/media diet for some years now. The Stewart/Colbert team give me the farcical sound bites illuminating the one-up-ness polarization inherent in U.S. politics, I read choice tidbits and listen to Fresh Air. During election season I mostly fast.
Occasionally I get duped. Like with Michelle Obama’s DNC speech. FB friends were happily raving with one saying, “Dems got their sexy back.” (that I do agree with). Michelle talks and I love her spirited Self and her fun/first-class dress displaying her strong “yes we can!” shoulders. But then, this: “Every day, the people I meet inspire me…they make me proud…they remind me how blessed we are to live in the greatest nation on earth…” la la la la blah blah blah.
In real life People, there is NO greatest, ultimate, perfect, best; there’s just what you like. That doesn’t make it best; that’s what’s “best” to you. Every time you assert that what you favor is the greatest you’re insulting someone, manifesting arrogance, being a bore.
We won’t let our children boast: “I draw better than everyone,” or “I’m the best player on my team.” Why? It’s polarizing and disrespectful. When someone says they live in the greatest country in the world, how haughty (and patently untrue) is that?! Most of my family lives in Tuscany. I wonder if they’d agree that the U.S. is “the greatest.” On just the food front, I loudly and unequivocally challenge that assertion.
Good/bad comparisons are a major dysfunctional component of the patriarchal paradigm. We loathe them in politics but we do this in our lives all the time. I bought the best laptop. I use the ultimate smartphone. The Patriots are supreme. Really? The first two may be better designed for some situations and may be easier to use than many but that still doesn’t make them “best,” and the Patriots will be down soon enough.
Must we compare, elevate or denigrate? Why can’t we just prefer the city we live in, our school, our religion, the wine, the book, the olives, the bread without pompously declaring it’s the ultimate? It may seem safer to impose your opinion as fact but it doesn’t make it true.
How about we replace: “This pizza’s good,” “That dog sucks,” “These are the crispest apples” with: “I love thin pizzas!” “I don’t like yappy dogs,” “These apples are my kind of crisp.” The pizza, the dog and those apples are what they are despite your personal proclivities. Let things, teams, towns, countries and people be as they occur—without qualifying them as better, best or worst—in and of themselves. They’re existence isn’t just in relation to you.
Respecting differences, celebrating diversity, honoring others’ favorites will bring us all more happiness. When the Orioles make a splendid play I’ll cheer even if I’m fond of the Mariners. A fine play is a fine play regardless which team achieved it. Yes?