Leaving, Dying, Or Shutting The Hell Up

Any intentional bigot can cease to exist by growing up and out of their erroneous beliefs, like most of us have. Another route is…to not make any impact on the environment (physically leaving the US, shutting the hell up, or dying are three ways that come to mind). I’M A PACIFIST, I AM NEVER —EVER— GOING TO CALL FOR VIOLENCE, even though I will freely admit to feelings of relief and often glee when an intentional bigot departs or dies. 

And while glee at their departure (in whatever form it takes) might seem shocking to those with many points of privilege (who maybe haven’t considered or imagined what it’s like to have to continually deal with oppression caused by these folks), it’s really very much a survival reflex that hundreds of millions of us have had to tone down to be considered polite**. 

I greatly value being polite, but the “don’t speak ill of the dead” adage is truly not helpful in the 21st century. Because it has masked far too many otherwise easily seen and understood truths. Truths like: Many, if not most people naturally feel great relief and freedom when abusive people die.

Hear me out. I am not talking about —or advocating for anyone to go—  spitting directly in the face of a bigot’s family who may have had their own struggles with the bigot, but that doesn’t mean I should in any way hide my relief or even happiness when an intentional bigot departs by any means available. 

Here’s why: when an intentional misogynist is no longer spouting sexist stuff, women (including me) are safer in the world. When an intentional racist is no longer crowing racist ideas, millions of my brothers and sisters are safer. When an intentional homophobe dies, I am safer in my life, liberty, and my pursuit of happiness and so are millions of others who identify as LGBTQ. And in all these cases the world is a bit more peaceful. See a theme here? And when a physically or sexually abusive person can no longer harm others, the world seriously becomes kinder and safer for everyone. That’s just reality. And I think we should point out and be publicly grateful when the world becomes safer.

So I think we ought to be more vocal about that. 

Rush Limbaugh died on February 17 2021. I am purposefully publishing this piece on the first anniversary of his death. His horrific legacy of intentional bigotry is still with us, but at least he is no longer able to use his voice to try to legitimize things that simply are not legitimate points of view. He’s unable to do more harm BECAUSE he is dead, and I am grateful for that. 

I certainly don’t have all the answers for what to do with intentional bigots.  But I do know they are as useful in the 21st century as drunk drivers. And just like drunk drivers: at the end of the day they CHOOSE to engage in their behaviors. Even folks in full denial about their alcoholism can choose not to drive drunk. So when they do, they should face serious consequences.

**And here, I feel the need to digress a bit and say: I am all for being polite (showing respect and consideration to others). Politeness is a formalized way of showing good will towards others.  It has tons of adaptive qualities. It is very much welcomed and necessary in a pluralistic society. And it’s essential for a planet based in love/caring as well. I’m all in for being polite. When it doesn’t allow for corruption/harm to happen or continue.