A friend recently accused me of being too judgmental. I immediately went into denial mode, smugly declaring that I wasn't judgmental at all. "You're the one who's judgmental!” I shouted defensively into the phone.
I won't go into the specifics here of who said what because my point is not for you, my much appreciated Opinionated Woman reader, to decide which one of us is right and which one is wrong.
But later, after mulling over this exchange, I realized she was right. And so was I. In fact, our conversation had given me what Oprah used to call an Aha Moment:
One of the things wrong in our country today is that we are all waaaay too judgmental.
It doesn't help that many of us are on Facebook and Twitter and yes, blogs, which cry out for us to judge, judge, judge.
And it also doesn’t help that our Twitterer-in-chief's modus operandi is to bully and call people names. In ordinary times, one would think having citizens mirroring presidential behavior would be a good thing. But these are not ordinary times.
Although Donald Trump has unofficially given permission for us to fire up our judginess, it certainly didn’t start with 45. Being judgmental is deeply ingrained in us. It's part of our DNA.
Try having a conversation without being judgmental about someone or something. Really. Try it. It’s almost impossible. Strangely, judging helps bond us to each other—as long as our judgments come to similar conclusions.
And that's part of the problem. Those on the left and on the right can't even talk to each other anymore. You have to look no further than our representatives in Congress to see the complete disregard they have for one another in order to progress their own agendas.
Many who speak out about politics now have friends and relatives who have unfriended them on Facebook or unfriended them for real—in life. Or vice versa. We are judging one other as “misinformed” or “idiots” or “racists” for not having similar points of views.
When one pal unfriended me on Facebook because, as she told me, my political blog posts were making her “blood pressure go up,” I was shocked and hurt.
Yes, I took it personally. But here’s why I find it most upsetting: I want to hear the other side. I want, I ACHE, to understand why the other side feels the way they do.
I have friends at work who were Trump supporters during the election, and, I imagine, still are. They have coined themselves “The Trumpettes,” a term of endearment, I suppose, for themselves.
I’d love to ask them what they think about Trump and the Russians, about Trump’s declaration that Obama wiretapped him and Trump’s constant tweets. But I can’t. I'm sure they have things they would like to tell me, too. But they won't.
One of the things I’ve always loved about the United States is that we Americans are a luscious stew of intriguingly different peoples, cultures, religions and yes, opinions. It, literally, used to bring tears to my eyes thinking about it.
But now things are different. We don't listen to each other. We don't talk to one another. We judge each other. Yes, I’m going to be judgmental here: This is very, very bad for our nation, indeed.
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