On -isms: No, You Move

By | Thursday, October 27, 2016 Leave a Comment
Whether you caught in the movie or read it in the comic, as a comic fan you might well be familiar with this speech from Captain America...
It sounds like a great sentiment, right? Stand up for what you believe in, regardless of who tells you you're wrong? It sounds noble and honorable. And coming from Captain America himself, you know it's coming from a place of deep commitment to justice.

I have a problem with the message it's sending though. Because, sometimes, you're wrong.

I don't mean wrong in the sense of an honest mistake or a slight miscalculation, but wrong in the sense that you are deeply and fundamentally wrong. You're so fundamentally wrong that you are literally destroying innocent people's lives by standing in their way. And the real problem is that you don't even know it.

Almost no one views themselves as really evil. They might know that stealing is morally wrong, but they do it anyway for whatever reason; and yet they'll still think of themselves as a fundamentally good person. Looking from the outside, we see that person as a villain -- someone who took something that wasn't theirs, thereby making them evil. But they don't see themselves that way. They can't, because they're the protagonist of their own story.

A little over a year ago, Dylann Roof walked into a church in Charleston, SC and killed nine people including a pastor and a state senator. Because of their skin color. He's facing federal charges for a hate crime. Even people I know to be racists think he did something wrong.

But he didn't. Roof thought he was working towards a greater good. As far as I can tell, he freely admits to what he's done but still doesn't think it was wrong. He's standing his ground, and telling the rest of the world, "No, you move."

Roof is a pretty extreme example. But what about the people saying transgender people have to use the restroom corresponding to their birth gender? What about the people saying they refuse to serve gays and lesbians? What about the people who are saying police should have zero oversight even though they disproportionately kill unarmed POCs? What about the people who think that rape victims are 'asking for it'? What about the people who think killing doctors who perform abortions is acceptable? All of these people are standing up for what they believe in their heart of hearts is true. All of these people think they're on the right side of history. All of these people are saying that the whole country is wrong and they're the ones who are right. All of these people are saying, "No, you move."

"No, you move" is what led to Brexit. "No, you move" is what led to government shutdowns. "No, you move" is what led to every war in the history of mankind.

"No, you move" sounds good coming from a hero, but recall that villains are heroes to somebody too.
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