159 – People…Like You

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PEOPLE…LIKE YOU!

First, let’s thank our sponsor…

This episode is brought to you by John and Todd and all the other good people over at Stumptown Kilts.  These are craftsmen who’s purpose in life is to provide the world with the most well made, well designed kilts available.

I own three of these kilts myself and I doubt I will ever get one anywhere else, because they have it all.  From the rugged, attractive material, the adjustable size, the attachable pockets and the huge hidden pocket…not to mention the affordable price and premium craftsmanship.  Seriously guys, if you have ever thought of getting a kilt, Stumptown Kilts is the only place you need to go.

Right now there is a special, exclusive  offer for listeners of Being A Better Man,  go to stumptownkilts.com, pick out your kilts and accessories, then when you are checking out enter the code:  betterman, all lower case, and you will receive 10% off your entire online purchase.  Go to stumptownkilts.com today, and tell them Alf sent you.

There will be a contest coming up soon to win a free Stumptown kilt.  Keep an eye on the Facebook page, that is where all the details will be posted.

Well, it’s Friday again.  Another chance for me to talk about things that are on my mind.  Not just random things…but things that pertain to being a better man of course.

Honestly, I think all of our lives have been dominated by the political news cycle lately…I know mine has.  When I have had enough of it I seek refuge in some other activity or conversation, but since everyone I know is being affected by it, it’s hard to get away from it…it shows up everywhere I go.

I wouldn’t be so bad if everyone was having a non-emotional, civil exchange of ideas, but that is not the case unfortunately. 

Each side of the political discussion has come up with an entire set of derogatory names, labels, and characterizations for the other side.

People on both sides of the argument think people on the other side are either pure evil, hopelessly stupid, misinformed, or misguided.  When the truth of the matter is…the majority of people on the other side are just…people.  People like you.

I see this happening and I ask myself why?  Why must it be so adversarial?  I think a big part of the answer is the media itself, and how things are reported. 

When all you see about the other side is the worst, most abhorrent behavior, it makes you think everyone on that side of the fence is like that.

I learned an important lesson when I was in the Army.  In High school I was one of the country kids, we wore cowboy hats and lived on farms, did chores and all of that.  Our upbringing reenforced certain ideals, and we naturally thought that we were right.

At the time, in the late 70’s, there were other groups of people that we deemed to be our inferior opposites.  I’m talking about the hippies and the stoners.  Their world view was completely different from ours, and we knew that they were wrong.  We vilified these groups of people. 

I remember parking at 7-11 on Friday nights in the hopes we could start a fight with some hippies or stoners…as if that would have proven anything.

It became very “us and them”.  It seemed to us that there was no hope for these long-haired, worthless, dope smoking, no-account slackers…as if their very humanity was in question because we couldn’t find any redeeming qualities in how they lived or thought, because they were different than us.

It’s kind of embarrassing now to remember how prejudiced I was against these other kids, but, that’s how it was then.

Then I joined the Army and something strange happened.  They cut off all our hair.  Then they dressed us all in identical clothing.  Suddenly I could not longer tell who was who.

It was unsettling at first.  I had become used to making snap judgments about people simply by looking at them. 

When you are working with other men you have conversations with the guy next to you.  When there is an opportunity, you make a joke.  You share stories…because that’s what humans do.  Through this type of natural communication I made friends with a lot of guys, many of whom I would have tried to fight at 7-11.

I began to realize that beneath the clothes and hair, regardless of what kind of music they listen to, regardless of what their political affiliations are, or their religion, their skin color, or anything else…everybody is just a person, like me.

As a person we all have parents, people who love us.  We have hopes and dreams and hobbies and aspirations.

Today’s media is not designed to make people think the best of each other.  Instead it paints groups of people with a huge wide brush, that makes us think everyone in that group is like that…but they are not.

For example, back when the Tea-Party was up and coming, many people thought all tea partiers were slobbering neanderthals who were prone to violence…because that is how it was reported.  I went to a couple Tea Party rallies, and it was very peaceful.  No slobbering, no violence, just concerned people talking about things they believed in.

Likewise, the recent protests are portrayed in the media to have been taken over by anarchists smashing windows and destroying property.  I went to one of these protest, I talk about it in episode 157, I didn’t see one anarchist out of 170,000 people.  It was peaceful, and friendly.  Just concerned people talking about things they believed in.

Everyday about 3,000,000 police officers in this country do their job flawlessly, with no incident of violence or abuse.  But the media would have us all believe that the majority of cops are hunting down minorities for no reason and that corruption is the rule rather than the exception.

The reason I’m talking about this stuff, is because as men we have an obligation to think for ourselves.  We should question everything we hear instead of blindly believing what we are fed…and then regurgitating it.

There are very few pure sources of information out there now, everything has a bias.  You owe it to yourself to do your own research, to determine for yourself the truth of things before you simply adopt them as gospel with no basis.

What is at stake is your relationships.  All of us have relationship with people from many different walks of life.  I’m not just talking about your families, but the people you work with, go to school with, do business with, and commute with.  The people who live in the same city as you do…they are all just people, like you.

Most people want the same things; to be happy, to be comfortable and safe, to have a future to live into.  They just have different ideas of how to achieve these things…and that is where the divide starts, but that is also the exact place that people NEED to get together and talk.  But that won’t happen, as long as everyone is angry.

A lot of people seem to get angry at other people just because they have a different opinion about something.  I don’t get that…it doesn’t make sense.  In my opinion, the only reason you would get angry at someone for not believing what you believe is if you yourself are not secure in your own belief.

If you are secure and solid in the things you believe, then it wouldn’t really matter what someone else thinks would it?  I know it doesn’t matter to me. 

There have also been occasions when I have had a firmly held belief about something, and through civil conversation I realize I was incorrect.  I am grateful when that happens…because I can go forward being more correct than I was previously.  All I really want, is the truth of things.

So I urge all of you, as you head out into the world to remember that everybody is just a person.  They have families, and things that make them laugh, they have pets and jobs.  They are all just people, like you.  At the same time I urge you to always think for yourself…don’t be told by anyone how or what to think.  You are a man, and it’s your job to chart your course…no one else’. 

You should question the things I say here as well, even though I’m not telling you what to think, just giving you things to think about, as you go through the world being a better man today, than you were yesterday.  Question everything my friends…and arrive at your own conclusions as a result of your diligence.

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