Month: May 2015

I follow a fair number of people on Twitter. Writers, readers, artists, and a whole lot of just plain old folks that at one point or another have said something that made me think they might be worth listening to in the future. Many, though certainly not all of them, have similar politics to my own, which is to say that they lean to the left, at least socially and often economically as well. We agree with many of the same people, and consequently tend to disagree strongly with some of the same people too. Far right wing politics, social conservatism and the like get fairly little time on my stream, and that is by design.

But there’s a recent trend among people I like and agree with that I find increasingly nauseating, and that is the celebration of, and gloating over, tragic acts of those we dislike and disagree with.

The two most notable examples of stories that have led to this phenomenon are allegations of domestic abuse against Bill O’Reilly and the admission of child molestation by Josh Duggar.

Now, before I move on, let me be clear. I find both of these men morally and ethically reprehensible. I disliked them before these news stories, and I am disgusted to a different level by them afterward. I want no confusion – I am not defending either one. They are repulsive. But I have always believed that we should hold ourselves and our allies to a higher standard than our enemies, and I’d like us to be better in how we respond to their crimes.

In short: if a crime has victims, don’t gloat about that crime. Don’t score political points by saying that this is typical Republican behavior, or smile at the cancellation of a show you’ve always hated in the aftermath. These crimes aren’t about you. They aren’t about reinforcing your politics or worldview. They are about the victims and the hell they have been put through by their attackers. I see so little comment on the victims, and so much barely restrained glee at an enemy being taken down a notch, that it frankly turns my stomach.

So, that’s it. Don’t gloat about tragedy. Domestic abuse, child molestation – these are not things to ever cause even a modicum of satisfaction in decent people. If you must comment on them at all, make your first comment an expression of sympathy and support for the victims, and then decide whether, after that, your next comment meets the Buddha’s three standards:

“If you propose to speak, always ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind?”

I’m as guilty as anyone of speaking outside of these, and in general, I think they’re far too restrictive. Sometimes we can make jokes, we can blabber on about TV shows we like and the meal we just ate, and these things are never necessary. But when there’s a victim involved, those seem like a good set of rules. I for one will try to adhere to them.

After over a year of engagement and five years of togetherness, we finally tied the knot this past weekend, and I am a married man. I hear from people all the time that they don’t remember their wedding, or even that they didn’t really enjoy it because of all the stress. I absolutely loved my wedding. We got married at the beautiful Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport, OR. If you are planning a wedding in or near Oregon, call them. They do a fantastic job at a surprisingly competitive price, and you get to get married SURROUNDED BY FISH.

The ceremony itself shouldn’t change much in my life. After all, my wife and I already own a home and are part-time raising a child together. Compared to those two, signing a paper and wearing a ring are fairly minor life choices. Still, I can’t help but be affected by it. As I type, one of my fingers feeling the still unfamiliar weight of my ring, I want to choose to do better things and be better at the things that I do. I wasn’t alone before – far from it – and she has always been an absolute rock of support, both practically and creatively, but I still feel like a partner – officially – for the first time. Nothing I do is just for me anymore, not wholly, and that’s fine. In fact, it’s kind of amazing.

Thanks to everyone who was able to make the ceremony, and the many who weren’t but offered their congratulations. I will be writing thank you cards, it seems, until my anniversary at least. It was an amazing week, and now the big challenge is getting back to normal life. Though I happen to have a pretty fantastic life, it’s a hard transition back from that fantasy island week of being constantly surrounded by friends and family. Also, eating out every meal. So much great food. We’re going to have to up our cooking game.

Anyway, that’s my update. Married. Back to work.