For Those Who Can’t Get It Up

I was reading the editorial from Maclean’s September 26th issue regarding online trolls, when I had a revelation. Since I’m Canadian, I’ll form it as an apology. I’m so sorry you can’t get it up. Maybe you never could. But perhaps a little encouragement, or even some information, will help you find success.

Let’s begin with those ultra-scary, sometimes annoying words, political correctness. Many don’t get it, never mind get it up. Others believe that behind those words lurks a monster so powerful, it will strip away everything great about you and your country. Allow me to provide a medication-free aid.

First, let’s clear up a few misunderstandings. I know you’ve avoided that fearful beast all your life, but here’s the good news. Political correctness is only about manners. Not your everyday manners, either. Go ahead and slurp your soup. Blow your nose on your shirt tail. This isn’t about that. It’s the behavior you show to others. The manners that allow you to disagree with someone’s opinion, lifestyle, religious/ sexual persuasion, or otherness, yet leave them feeling like you haven’t chopped off a limb. You leave them whole. ‘But I don’t want to!’ you might think. And I know. It’s hard.

Perhaps you’re remembering a time when it was just fine using words like bohunk, chink, or fag. Maybe you told lavish jokes about people with disabilities. ‘It’s my wacky sense of humour!’ you’d say, feeling nostalgia for those days. You know, back when your country was great.

‘Doesn’t she know what Jesus says?’ you might think. Why yes, I do. But if you slavishly follow the Pat Robertsons, Ann Coulters or others on the hate parade, you’ll derail yourself with such wild emotion that you can’t get it up anymore. Good manners become a bridge too far. But there’s a way to get there.

Take yourself back to childhood. If you were taught to walk a mile in another’s shoes, then bingo. You’re back in the game. Even on the internet, where ordinarily you’d act like Attila the Hun wiping out a whole city, you’ll find yourself picturing the person on the other end of your diatribe. You’ll hear their point of view. You might even feel empathy. (feel free to gasp. It’s gasp worthy.)

You may not agree with the person in question, but because you’re employing your manners, ie: political correctness, you leave that person believing there’s still some civility left in the world. When we employ a little political correctness, then like a Christmas morning Grinch, our hearts grow a few sizes. We become greater, and our countries do too, no matter our financial or social position. Because greatness is more about civility and heart than anything else.

For those unable to stop the online vitriol, those who can’t empathize with people NOT EXACTLY THE SAME, then again, I apologize. I’m so sorry for your loss. I grieve your inability to get it up, and hope that someone is able to help you. Perhaps you could check in with Jesus, (the real one from the bible.) He has really great ideas. Yes, he floored a lot of people with all that talk about forgiveness, and loving your brother. Your neighbor. Everyone, really.

But remember this. We’re all rooting for you. All of us who make mistakes and occasionally forget our manners. We understand that the world works better when we behave with kindness and respect. It’s not easy. But at the end of the day, according to Ram Dass, we’re all just walking each other home. Keeping each other company on the journey of life, which is relatively short, and often hard. Strip away all the other nonsense and remember that. You might find yourself rising to the occasion, after all.

Published by Judith Pettersen

Judith Pettersen is an author living in Canada. She blogs about her life in the north and the ups and downs of being a writer.

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