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4/28/2008

Recently at a family gathering, there was a comment made by one of my relatives that caused a stir with my father and I. Now, I hate being diplomatic and concealing names to protect the guilty parties, but family is a bit of a touchy subject, so you'll forgive me if I don't delve too deep into the back story.

Anyway, this comment evoked a strong reaction from Pops and I. And it wasn't a contentious thing by any stretch, but we smelled something offensive and made the unconscious joint decision to weigh in on it. It didn’t even cause an incident or anything, but my mother, being the saintly peacemaker she’s known for, kept quiet only to tell us later that we crossed the line.

However, when we asked if we were wrong, she declined to comment. Folks, as a great man once said, the phrase “no comment” is a comment. And it speaks volumes. What she was essentially saying was that she agreed with us but felt it wasn’t our place to remark on.

Now, color me crazy, but I honestly don’t feel there’s ever a “bad time” to call out bullshit. For that matter, I think it’s all the more imperative to do so in this day and age, especially when hypocrisy is factored in.

It seems sad to me that so many humans, particularly Americans, are quick to comment without all the facts and even quicker to clam up when their opinions are debunked and their ignorance is proven. I’m a big fan of taking responsibility for one’s feelings and comments, and an even bigger fan of seeing both sides of the coin. I try to do it as often as I can and even though some things will forever be black and white to me, I will still make an effort to understand the juxtaposed hue.

So when narrow minds speak loudly and tunnel vision opinions spew forth their misinformed, predisposed rhetoric, you can rest assured I will champion the cause to not only clean up the bullshit, but to put it in its place. The sad fact is that our society is not only rife with bullshit, the pot’s overflowing. To make matters worse, most people buy into it and take it for fact. Not so, folks.

Buying into and believing the bullshit is part of the reason this nation is in the rut it’s in right now, whether we realize it or not. I hate to say it, but if we did a better job as a collective of smelling the bullshit and avoiding it, we would not have elected certain leaders who have systematically run our country into the seventh circle of the Inferno.

So my honest opinion is this: when bullshit becomes apparent—and make no mistake, you never have to look long or hard before it starts wafting around—it’s important to acknowledge it and proceed with cleansing the landscape.

Now if that means you have to call someone out and challenge them, I really don’t see a problem with that. The one thing we lack in this world is honesty, now more so than I can ever recall. We live and die by euphemisms and short-sighted claims, which isn’t difficult in this 3,000-message-per-day world. It’s hard to focus in on the truth sometimes when there’s so much else that’s more appealing to blind us.

This is why it’s all the more necessary to be real and be honest. I don’t mean to be argumentative or even confrontational. In fact, I pretty much hate confrontation (funny, since I’m a blossoming MMA fan). But there’s a difference between confrontation and debate. Folks, debate is healthy for the mind. It keeps the cogs in motion and prevents the degeneration into group-think, alright? We can’t be afraid to challenge others on their opinions if we see flaws.

And more often than not, there are heavy flaws at stake. However, this isn’t to say that there are some very rational, reasonable humanoids out there who, despite a difference in opinion, may actually be fun to converse with while completely avoiding critical disagreement. Despite being a registered Democrat, I’ve found myself able to hold good discussion with diehard Republicans without getting the least bit frustrated or getting into pissing contests about minutia and personal belief.

Know why? We disagree, but we both make an effort to be informed and steer clear of the bullshit. For every point there’s a reasonable counterpoint that could make the other pause and think, “OK, I’ll give ya that.” However, I find these blessed folks to be in the single digit percentiles of the populous. Most people just rattle off whatever they please without so much as a lick of data to buttress their thoughts.

Hey, people, I’ve got news for ya: making strong claims without strong evidence is a sign of gross ignorance. And clinging to them while being debunked is a sign of a hypocritical, narrow mind. And a hypocritical, narrow mind makes you a prime candidate for prestigious purveyor of prime poo-poo. In my book, that makes you a target for cleansing.

Now I’m sure there are times, places, and yes, even people that we should avoid when it comes to our honesty. However, I don’t think we can afford to limit ourselves too much right now. We cannot fear speaking the truth if we know it.

And to all those who would go so far as to incriminate themselves, let me say this: it is better for your friends and loved ones to fill you in on being full of shit as opposed to others, so thank them for being genuine with you. Otherwise, you’re really gonna sound stupid.

God, I am so my father’s son…