People Say the Dumbest Things

cliven bundyI’ve been following the Cliven Bundy case off and on over the last month or so. I haven’t read a whole lot about it, but enough to understand what’s happened. I’ve been trying to distance myself from the political world a little bit as focusing on it seems to do nothing more than raise my blood pressure and get me frustrated.

Having become a poster child for standing up against big government by some on the right, his recent comments have gotten everyone bristling. If you haven’t heard the latest about him, he made some fairly thoughtless remarks regarding African Americans, saying that they would have been better in slavery than they are under the current system.

Now, those who had embraced Bundy and his stance against the government are backing off for fear of being associated with his comments. Those who had been critical of him all along are now criticizing not only Bundy, but all of the people who had supported him prior to his remarks. The whole thing is a mess as someone who had been elevated to Superhero status has shown the world what their “kryptonite” is.

I find it interesting how quickly people latch on to others for acts that they have committed. It’s been happening for years, but with our communication culture, it seems like the process has sped up and the information certainly gets out there much faster than it ever has before.

The thing that troubles me is that when you dig deep enough, you’re going to find “kryptonite” for just about everyone. We are all imperfect. There was only one perfect man and we know what happened to him. When someone supports an action by someone else, does that always mean that you support every single thing that person has said, done, or supported? If so, I think we would spend a lot more time investigating people we support than we do. I also think that we might take the time to make more clarifying statements about the people that we support, specifying that we support their current actions but that doesn’t mean it’s a blanket statement of support for anything and everything that they had ever said or done.

I’ll be the first person to admit that I’ve said some pretty stupid things in my lifetime. I’m not sure whether any of them could ever get me into deep trouble. But regardless of what I’ve said and done, I can think of people who I have appreciated and supported who have said or done things with which I disagree. Just because I don’t buy into 100% of what a person has said and done, does that mean I take it all or I take nothing?

So, what have I personally learned from all of this?

– Be specific about what I’m supporting – when someone does something that seems like something that I would support, I need to be specific that I’m behind their current actions but not necessarily supporting their entire history.

– Do a little research – because of the danger of support for one act or event turning into an overarching support for everything, doing a little research is just smart work. I’m smart enough to know that regardless of specific comments about limited support, I will still be criticized for embracing someone for everything that they’ve ever done.

– Always remember that everyone is fallible, including myself – People are people and they will screw up, don’t ever expect that they won’t. Not to say that you go in expecting the worst all the time, but elevating people up to an untouchable shelf will almost always result in disappointment. I am fallible and so are you, let’s not expect each other to screw up, but let’s also not be so delusional that we think that we are perfect either.

In the end, the Bundy case is still one that I will follow. I am curious to see what happens, and who knows what other lessons I can learn for myself.

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