“If I can’t find an enemy, I just change the criteria,” Leon Thoughtsky

A few weeks ago, I saw this plastered on the side of an ice cream joint around the corner from our place in Chicago:

“If I can’t find an enemy, I just change the criteria,”

I took the picture and I thought I would share it on Facebook. But I stopped, because it’s easily considered a meme, and I go out of my way to not share bumpersticker style quips and adages on my wall.

But I keep thinking about the statement.

My knee-jerk is to associate it with any number of my active so-called radical friends on the social medias. The ones that perpetually point out the errors in their perceived opponents’ perspectives.

Both my liberal friends and conservative friends do it.

One meme will say, “We must protect children from being in the same bathroom as a transgender person, but not from school shootings, or poverty, or hunger, or cuts to education, or lack of healthcare or climate change.”

Or, contrast that with, “If you are for peace and unity, and you consider abortion a “right,” I implore you to check your heart on this issue.”

Or, “If you’re pro-life, why are you against universal healthcare?”

Or, “There are three useless things in the world: an unloaded gun, tits on a bull and liberals.”

Or, “Republican Logic: War? Yes! Torture? Absolutely! Execute People? You bet! Abortion? No…. I’m pro life.”

It is rare that these types of things are posted following an explanation by the poster what they think about these things in a more detailed sense.

It’s as if pointing out the plank in your enemy’s eyes are the only ways to feed one’s insecurities.

I believe that abortion should be eliminated. However, I think we need to work together to eliminate it. Death in childbearing, either the woman or the child, continues to be a thing. And I have confidence that if we concentrated science on finding ways to drag those numbers down via study and execution of ideas that work, we could bury that possible need to either let the mother die or the child in some circumstances.

Sex education and universal health care for female reproduction is the other HUGE way to eliminate abortion. But we have people and corporations who refuse to acknowledge that birth control is a modern way to avoid it. Instead, Hobby Lobby and others refuse to provide its employees with that kind of coverage. Opting out purely on religious grounds hoping for abstinence only education to miraculously take hold.

Fear-based approaches like, “Don’t do it, it’s in the Bible,” and modern day approaches like, “If you want to have sex and don’t want to get pregnant, we have these simple methods to do so.”

Or, shoot, abstinence didn’t work. The consequences are “reap what you so, dears. I love you. Now have that baby and SHUT UP.”

Homosexuality is a huge sticking point for people, too. And that’s just sad.

People issues. People issues are what we argue over? Really?

What the hell harm has a homosexual person done to you?

Offensive people have to be on the offensive.

It’s seemingly so simple to let people be people. Adult consent in the bedroom. As if that’s arguable. Children aren’t being hurt. Gay men aren’t producing babies and aborting them. If anything, when they want a child, they really want a child. And they find a surrogate and work hard with the mother to make their dreams come true.

At least that baby is wanted.

The whole reason behind this babbling brook post is: why are we making enemies out of each other? What good is it? I don’t want to fight with you over your beliefs. I want you to have them. And I would love to be free to have mine. We can exist in the same world where each of us can express our feelings and even do those things that you designated not right. And we’ll live to see another day.

Let’s try to make this life better for each other.

But hate sells. Controversy is more lucrative. Charged emotions are more intriguing.

I wish more energy would be put into memes that reached out with an open helpful hand. And maybe that’s on me, since it was my idea. But surely there are ways to mend the broken divide.