I had a thought earlier today: labels don’t matter.
What I mean by that is that the labels people use for themselves tell me almost nothing about their quality as people. “Republican”, “Tea Party”, “Democrat”, “conservative”, “liberal”, “progressive”, “Christian”, “atheist”, “Muslim”, whatever. None of that really matters.
There seems to be a cottage industry devoted to vilifying other people based on these labels. People who use offensive terms like “tea bagger”, and people who refer to President Obama using clumsy nicknames like “Obomination”.
It’s popular in certain quarters to vilify “Christians”, but I know Christians who are open-minded and reasonable, and atheists who are closed-minded and petty. It’s a popular facebook pasttime to vilify “Republicans”, but I know Republicans who are generous and kind, and self-styled “progressives” who are pompous, dishonest, and cruel.
Are there vile Christians and sneering atheists? Are there grasping Democrats and despicable Republicans? Of course there are. They are in the news almost every day. But the people who complain the loudest about them are no better, as far as I can tell. There are small-minded, unkind people under every label, and I see no correlation between the labels and the quality of the character of the people wearing them.
More to the point, there are kind, generous, open-minded people under every label.
I should pay more attention to what people do, and how they treat others, and less to what they have written on their name tags.