If I Said You Have A Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me is a song released by The Bellamy Brothers in 1979 that went to number 1 on the Billboard magazine Hot Country Singles chart.
It is still played on classic country radio, and hearing it not long ago I was a little surprised that someone somewhere had not tried to get it expunged from the face of the earth. Along with The Bellamy Brothers and Groucho Marx, the originator of the phrase.
Because there are a lot of people out there who definitely would hold it against all of them. After all, “anything you say can and will be used against you” in the court of public opinion.
He was again’ it
There is an old story about a fellow whose wife always made sure they were in church every Sunday. Then one week she had to travel to another town to help care for her ailing mother, and wouldn’t be back for Sunday.
She made her husband promise he’d go to church. He agreed.
Sunday night she called home long distance to check on him, and she asked if he’d gone to church.
“Yep,” he said.
Skeptical, she quizzed him. “What did the preacher preach about?”
“Sin,” he answered.
“And what did he say about sin,” she wanted to know.
“He was again’ it.”
It is a good thing for a preacher to be “again’ it” when it comes to sin. Not a lot of preachers preach about that these days, it seems to me. Perhaps none think they could ever match the famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” by Jonathan Edwards.
First delivered almost 300 years ago, it still makes me sit up straight. It was credited with being the “catalyst for The First Great Awakening.”
Edwards was not saying that he was against sin, he was saying God was against sin.
That is quite a contrast to the political campaigns that are rampant today, and have been for some time.
Looking for an honest man
Diogenes the Cynic is said to have walked about in the daytime carrying a lighted lantern. When asked why he said he was “looking for an honest man.” I’ve been thinking about getting a high-beam halogen lantern and going around looking for a politician who is for something rather than against somebody.
Attack ads have become the norm. They are intended to beat up on the opponent, but instead they beat up on the voters. We are “pounded,” one friend said, by attack ads.
Policies are rarely discussed, and if they are it is “I’m right and you’re wrong.” Positions are used as targets by the opposition, and almost always overplayed and characterized as being “too extreme.”
It makes me think we need to change our ballots so we can vote against candidates.
For the mid-terms we could use the ballots we have now, I suppose, and just change the instructions a little.
“If you do not want a candidate to be elected, draw a dark line through his/her name. If you feel strongly about this, draw a dagger through the name and we’ll count two votes against.”
I’ve spoken to several people about attack ads and the constant barrage of negative communication from those who would be our political leaders. I ask them: Can you think of any other industry, business, team, or nonprofit that focuses almost exclusively on what you should not do?
Imagine this from Microsoft: “Don’t buy anything made by Apple. Everyone knows that Steve Jobs listened to Satan because he took the bite out of the apple.”
One terrible byproduct of all this is that we now think it is not only acceptable to attack others, it is the norm.
Little kids have been known to talk trash about other little kids. If that gets out of hand, we label those trash talkers as bullies.
Bullying, it turns out, is just fine in society these days. It isn’t usually called that, of course. It’s called “cancel culture,” but it’s bullying at its finest. We approve of it with our silence and applaud it with our imitation.
For decades we’ve been advised not to talk about politics and religion, and we’ve learned that lesson well. No one talks about politics and religion any more, they talk about political and religious people and how terrible they are.
This is not new. It happened centuries ago, it is happening now, and it will happen again.
Any culture that is against rather than for can, I believe, be characterized as selfish. We become increasingly divided, especially if we happen to have a little authority.
California is currently defending itself before the Supreme Court on an Interstate Commerce case. The Constitution guarantees Interstate Commerce, and that is very important. Now California has (say plaintiffs) illegally regulated companies that operate outside of California.
Justice Elena Kagan, in oral arguments a few days ago, said, “Do we want to live in a world where we’re constantly at each others’ throats and Texas is at war with California and California at war with Texas?”
Are we already there?
I don’t want to see a war between California and Texas, because I live between them. But aren’t they already at war?
Looking only at political rhetoric, you might think so.
The reality is, there are many conservatives in California and many liberals in Texas, and we all still live in the United States of America.
How long we’ll stay united will depend to some degree on how well we learn to defend our position rather than attack another person.
And when you defend it, please use rational thought rather than emotional slogans. Rely on facts more than feelings, and you might help someone understand a different point of view.
Ask yourself, “Does what I believe do good, or does it just feel good?” If it doesn’t do good, please don’t do it, because doing good is what I’m for.
Do good. It’s in you.