“I think putting labels on people is just an easy way of marketing something you don’t understand.”
I am a white woman.
Do you care?
I am a heterosexual, white woman.
Does this offend you?
I am a married, heterosexual, white woman.
Do you give a rip?
I am a conservative, married, heterosexual, white woman.
Do you believe me?
I am a college-educated, conservative, married, heterosexual, white woman.
Did you ask?
I am an employed, college-educated, conservative, married, heterosexual, white woman.
Do you still not care?
I am a God-fearing, employed, college-educated, conservative, married, heterosexual, white woman.
Does this make your blood boil?
I am a Pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, gun toting, God-fearing, employed, college-educated, conservative, married, heterosexual, white woman.
I weigh approximately five pounds more than I wish I did (maybe more if it is “that time of the month for me”), have thin, damaged, blonde hair, am Pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, gun toting, God-fearing, employed, college-educated, conservative, married, heterosexual, white woman.
Still don’t know where I am going with all of this?
Okay, well, since I have grown tired of repeating myself and cutting and pasting the same words, I will help y’all understand my redundancy.
The other day, at our office, I spent the morning creating new files and filing away old ones. And as I created the new client files, I was struck by the notion of labels.
And this little bit of clerical duty got me to thinkin’…Labels.
I am sick and tired of hearing about people’s gender, sexual orientations, ethnicity, level of education, financial status, religious affiliations or lack thereof.
Seriously, I am fed up with labels.
I didn’t ask anyone to explain themselves. Just like y’all didn’t ask me to.
That sort of behavior is self-serving and narcissistic. And down right annoying.
Truthfully, I am exhausted by the never ending litany of accusations and labels each “side” viciously tosses at and assigns to the other “side”.
I’ll confess: I am really, really guilty of this!! I regularly call liberals names. For example, some of my favorites are “ignorant”, “progressive”, “misguided”, “corrupted”, “entitled”, “weak”, “abortion Barbie”, etc. I mean, golly, with my love of nicknames, the list could go on and on.
And the left refers to me (and other conservatives) as “judgmental”, “intolerant”, “antiquated”, “mean”, “racist”, “sexist”, “homophobic”, “religious fanatics”, “greedy”, etc. These are a few of the PG-rated labels I have personally experienced. The R-rated ones are, well, suffice it to say, colorful.
You see, labels are dangerous and small-minded. Because the truth of the matter is, a label is often times an overly simplified explanation and quick “glimpse” into a very complex, complicated “file”.
Labels, when used in a clerical, organizational capacity, barely scratch the surface of the content held within. After all, a label is simply a name. And remember our beloved, Shakespearean Juliet? She once wisely pondered what of consequence was held within a name. (I’ve been trying to work Shakespeare into my blog for months!)
See, when I label myself as a gal who weighs approximately five pounds more than I wish I did (maybe more if it is “that time of the month for me”), having thin, damaged, blonde hair, Pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, gun toting, God-fearing, employed, college-educated, conservative, married, heterosexual, white woman, it is pretty darn superficial.
In some ways, if that’s all someone knows about me, their knowledge would be woefully limited.
I would like to think I am much more than any or all of those things. I want to think I am multifaceted and complicated. I want to believe that I am well-rounded, not easily pigeon-holed. I want to be deep. I want to be bigger and better than any one thing. (It is understood that I want to be a Christian above all. But admittedly, I want to wear other “hats” alongside my faith.)
And I tend to believe that about all of you. Those of you I agree with and those of you I don’t.
Because here’s the deal: in my heart of hearts, I know, Barack Hussein Obama is more than a miserable, presidential failure. His is, undoubtedly, intelligent. He is a husband and father.
Neil Patrick Harris is more than a gay television star willing to stand on national television in his whitey-tighties or tighty- whiteties. Whichever. He is a man with a family, a mother and a father. He is a friend.
Graham Moore is more than a “weird” person and once-upon-a-time contemplater of suicide. He is talented, passionate and obviously, appreciates “disconcertingly beautiful faces”. He is a survivor, a victor, an overcomer.
John Boehner is more than a career politician who has lost his nerve. He is an example of hard work and perserverance. He is an ill-mannered, rough-around-the-edges public servant. I get that.
Hillary Clinton is more than a feminist on steroids. She is more than a presidential wanna-be. She is a woman who has defeated the odds of Washington, politics and scandal. She stood by her man. And now, she yearns for her moment in the sun. I don’t understand her, nor do I envy her. Her life has been terribly cold.
Sarah Palin is more than an Alaskan babe. She is more than her annoying accent. (I say that lovingly. I am more than mine.) She is more than a hunter or political pundit. She is a nobody who became a somebody. She is a mother and wife. She is a grandmother. She misspeaks and I like it. It makes her real.
We are all, regardless of lifestyle, more than what meets the eye. We are all creations of a loving and intimate Father. And trust me, He didn’t create us in a simple, carefree fashion. He is a skilled architect of life. He gave us all purpose and reason. He gave us what makes us, us. He made us unique. And therefore, we are much bigger, much deeper, much more than a name or a label.
You see, the problem with labels is that they are sticky little buggers. Sticky and difficult to remove. There is tremendous power in labeling. Tremendous power, both for good and for bad.
I’m never going to be an Obama, Clinton or Hollywood celebrity fan. But, the other day, standing in front of our metal filing cabinets, I realized it isn’t because of their names, labels or party affiliations. It’s because of the content of their character. It’s because of what is in their files.
It’s not their labels. Not anymore.
Because it’s our content that matters, not our labels. It’s our content that really tells our story.
Sign up to get alerts from Joe!