Recently, I was having a conversation on a certain social media site with a couple of former students. The whole thing began after I hastily shared a picture that had information on tobacco and marijuana use that may have not been entirely accurate. The fact that my sharing of the picture did not come after an exhaustive search of relevant materials to verify the veracity of its claims seemed to upset my friends. This is not, however the subject of this particular rant, but I would like to discuss the implications of the message conveyed by these two people.
At one point, one of them said, "I just don't like people pushing their morality on me."
Really? Was that what I was doing by sharing a picture about harmful effects from smoking? By, however unresearched my part in it may have been, passing along a photo, was I truly forcing my morality on him? Let's take a look at this, shall we?
Let's ignore the fact that the picture I shared was inaccurate. Embarassing as it may be, it is not germane to my theme. So, with that in mind, what was I doing? I was sharing information that I believed could help someone else decide to avoid, what is considered, even by those who "enjoy" it, as a horrible habit, or a disgusting vice. In fact, one of these conversationalists brought up the fact that they smoke, and that they considered it to be horrible.
Was I pushing my own morality on him? No. In fact, his own sense of right and wrong agreed with me. So why did he feel that I was? Because his own sense of guilt over doing something he knew to be horrible was tweaked by seeing the information I passed along. Let us be clear. Voicing your opinon is NOT forcing your morality on other people.
I was not telling him he had to quit smoking. In fact, I wasn't thinking of him, personally, at all when I shared the picture. Any reproach was on his own part.
But as I thought further on this situation, and the things I told him (I can't quote directly because that social media site has lost the conversation somehow), the true nature of the situation came to me. I want to discuss who is truly forcing their morality on others. It isn't who you may think.
When I walk across a parking lot, on my way from my car, while entering most businesses, I frequently find myself holding my breath. In almost every parking lot in every city, there is at least one person smoking. Are they sitting in some little cocoon where their smoke can't reach anyone? Do they prudently place their depleted butts in a proper disposal recpticle? Not hardly. They blow their smoke into the very air you and I breathe, then blatantly throw their sometimes unfinished cigarette remains on the ground, where they continue smouldering.
Who is forcing their own morality on others here? If you smoke, and I voce my opinon, I am not forcing you to stop smoking, but when you blow your smoke into the air I am breathing, you are forcing me to walk through your cancer-causing cloud. And while you have the choice to ignore my opinion, which wouldn't be the first time THAT has happened, I do NOT have the choice to ignore the need to visit a grocery store, or other such business. And I DEFINITELY don't have the option of ignoring the need for oxygen.
As I drive the highways, watch television, or navigate the information highway, I see randomly posted images on billboards or websites. I can choose to not sit and ogle at these images, some of which were at one time illegal in area where children may wander, but what has been seen cannot be unseen. My morality tells me to turn away, but it is another's morality, or lack of morality that is forced on me in that initial moment when the image is seen.
As a musician, I know full well the power of music. Som
And now to jump in with both feet. I do not wish to force my morality on anyone, by telling the, they cannot marry whomever they wish to marry. But my opinion is that marriage has always been the morality of a male/female religiously recognized relationship. If you choose to oppose that morality, that is your choice, but by forcing society to redefine what marriage is, you are forcing your lack of morality on the rest of us. Don't try to deny it by using all sorts of politically correct buzzwords and scripts designed to make us feel like it is the other way around.
So, it seems that, although ther are some who are trying to force their morality on others, in most cases, the only people pushing morality are those who don't have any. And you don't have to look much further than the Middle East to see how this happens. And before you try, no, I am not saying that people who want same-sex marriage are like terrorists who cut off reporter's heads, or kill people in the streets.
But don't try to say I am pushing my morality on you by simply stating my opinion. And when that opinion actually IS based on fact, just back off competely. On the opposite side of that, i have learned that none are so blind as those who will not see. In other words, I choose to not wrestle with pigs. I just get dirty, and the pig enjoys it. And no, I didn't just call you a pig. Or maybe I did. Don't judge me.