October 12, 2017

Combine the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to Celebrate True Individualism

The Boy Scouts of America have decided to accept girls into their ranks. Conservatives are calling this madness. Liberals are calling this revolutionary. I do not understand why boys and girls are looked at collectively instead of individually. There is nothing wrong with boys climbing trees and playing soldier. There is nothing wrong with girls playing princess and having tea parties with their dolls. There is also nothing wrong with boys playing dress up and girls playing football.

I am a man. I am a hardass, tough as nails, assertive, fully heterosexual tough guy. I shoot guns. I have never lost a fist fight. I love women. I love sex. I am conservative. I vote Republican. I am a member of the NRA. I spent four years in the United States Army. I drink whisky the way some people drink water.

I cook. I clean house. I can do simple knitting, simple crochet, and I can hem a straight line with needle and thread. I can kiss a child's scrapped knee. I love hugs. I grow wildflowers on my land instead of a lawn. I love to draw and paint with water colors, even though I am terrible at both. I am such a good listener people pay me $500 a day to teach them how to listen.

Here in the good old United States of America we love to talk about individualism. Then we turn around and argue over what it means to be a real man or a real woman; we get disgusted by boys who play dress up and we are horrified when girls want to play football. So we create new groups and give them names that are slightly insulting, "sissy boy", "little bitch", "slut", "queer", "dike", and so on.

This is insane. The greatest problem in American society, the real source of the modern culture war that results in mass shootings, riots in our streets, and drug overdose epidemics, is our puritanical insistence on putting individuals into groups and using collective definitions to determine who is "good" or "bad". Being a soft man with a weak body and preference for skirts is not "bad". Being a strong woman with a taste for whisky and love of hunting is not "bad". Kindness is always good, regardless of how an individual lives their life. Rape, murder, cruelty, bullying, and using insults as a form of humor are always bad, it does not matter if the perpetrator is rich, poor, masculine, feminine, hard or soft.

I have no problem with men's clubs, women's colleges, black colleges, Boy Scouts, or Girl Scouts. These are all fine ideas that appeal to many individuals. But why do we limit ourselves to these? Why do we have separate national organizations for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts? Why don't we have a single organization of Scouts that features within its ranks a variety of small units that are either all boys, all girls, or combined boys and girls? Why do we have separate skill sets for boys and girls? Why don't we have girls getting merit badges for knot tying and boys getting merit badges for crochet? Why do we insist girls stay in cabins while boys stay in tents? Why don't boys go door to door selling cookies and girls learn to shoot? Better yet, why don't we just allow each individual child to experiment with the entire range of skills and opportunities and allow them each individually to choose which skill sets they enjoy enough to master and which they have no interest in?

I truly enjoy the company of strong women and soft men. Variety is the spice of life. I enjoy the company of intelligent people who have open minds and logical thinking. One of my favorite pastimes is a spirited debate over politics, religion, history, or culture. I really don't care if the person I am talking with is gay, lesbian, straight, Christian, Atheist, transgender, transsexual, or whatever. If the person insults my opinions, attacks me personally, casts aspersions on my family heritage, or insults my friends, then I have a problem. I have never lost a fist fight and one of the main reasons I have never lost is because I hate fighting. If a person takes a swing at me they quickly find themselves face down in the dirt with their arms immobilized. I don't fight at all. I immobilize my opponent until they calm down enough to either walk away or accept the simple fact they cannot win. I love a spirited debate, but I hate arguing or fighting. I have better things to do, kinder people to enjoy time with.

The United States of America is the last bastion of true individualism. We have always had, and I hope we always do have, the most diverse society on planet Earth. Every major city in the world has some degree of diversity, but none of them come close to New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Here in the tiny corn country town of Wooster, Ohio we have Asians, Latin Americans, Persians, Europeans, Amish, Muslims, farmers, factory workers, government workers, aerospace engineers, drug addicts, and puritans. We have straight white guys who wear camouflage and drive trucks. We have black lesbians who love football and firearms. We also have White supremacists, Black militants, and Hispanic gangs.

Hatred for someone who sees the world differently than you do is bigotry. Period. No exceptions. I despise Rap and Hip Hop. I despise the music and I despise the culture that surrounds it. I also respect the success of rap artists and hip hop performers. I would be happy to share dinner and drinks with Eminem or Beyonce or Run DMC even through I will never buy their albums or attend their concerts. This is not contradictory or hypocritical. I respect anyone who treats others with kindness and generosity. I am happy to debate the merits and demerits of anything with anyone provided they do not get angry at me when I disagree with their opinion. I will listen to anyone, but I will not tolerate condescension, sadism, or bigotry.

I don't expect people to agree with me. I do expect them to show me the same respect I show them.