I have been woefully negligent of my own blog lately. That’s not to say I haven’t been writing. Quite the contrary. I’ve been feverishly rewriting a novel to publish as a second edition of The Case of a Cold Trail and a Hot Musket. The revised version—updated and rebranded with a whole new cover establishing the “look” for the entire Marianna Morgan series—will be available within a week. Please watch for Double Trouble on Amazon.
I’ve also finished my new novel, Virgilante, which I am submitting to Kindle Scout shortly after Double Trouble goes up on Amazon. And I recently submitted it to a Hollywood contest scouting for novels suitable for conversion to screenplays. Fingers crossed!
I’m also halfway through the second Marianna book — Udder Confusion. I hope to have it out by December (depending on the editor’s schedule).
But today’s post isn’t about what I’m writing. It’s about something more powerful and far-reaching. I’ve long believed adults let too much go without comment or question. They don’t want to be rude. They want to avoid confrontation. But then nothing ever changes. Or it gets worse.
I was inspired by the old Bud Why ask why? commercials to start my own campaign slogan: Why NOT ask why?
I truly believe that if adults asked the hard WHY questions more often the world would be a much better place.
I recently had this exchange with someone who hates a particular candidate:
Me: Why don’t you like X?
Them: Because X said “this nonsense.”
Me: X didn’t say that. Here’s proof: Link to proof. Why do you still believe it?
Them: They also did Y.
Me: Here’s proof they didn’t: Link to proof. So why do you say that?
Them: I heard they also Z.
Me: Heard from whom? That’s not true, either. See: Another link to proof. Why did you simply believe an unreliable source?
Them: grumble grumble grumble
What I’ve found is that, when questioned, the ultimate truth comes out — prejudices, attitudes, bigotries, and hatreds are almost always based on nothing but the person’s own irrational beliefs. There are no actual facts.
If we challenge those people by asking WHY, we can collectively change the world. When someone is confronted with that question, and ultimately has no reasonable answer, a new, productive conversation can start.
Now I’m no Pollyanna. Okay, actually, yes I am, but I truly believe that confronting issues and asking why-questions is an excellent start. Think about all the possibilities with children:
Why did you push Bobby down?
Why did you break Sue’s science project?
Why did you call Tom such a bad name?
This about the missed opportunities with adults:
Why did you think that joke was funny?
Why did you grab my butt while I was at the copier?
Why did you tell the neighbors about my dumb mistake?
The trick is to keep asking why until the person realizes they have no good answer. Don’t accept “I don’t know” as an answer, especially not the FIRST answer. Here’s how one conversation could go (I specifically picked an example that is somewhat “tame” compared to some I’ve been in):
“Why did you think that joke was funny?”
“It made me laugh. I thought others would like it.”
“Why did you laugh at a joke about a disabled woman having trouble entering a building?”
“The way the door kept getting stuck was hilarious.”
“Why do you think her being stuck in a door and scared was funny?”
“You’re just too stuffy/stuck up/whatever.”
“Why do you think it’s wrong to believe making fun of someone who is suffering is a terrible thing?
And so on.
If we start with the young, and also include the rest of us adults, we can make everyone think. We can also make people own their behaviors. Too often, we simply turn a blind eye. We don’t confront the bully – we tell the bullied child to avoid him. We don’t confront the office jerk. We make sure we’re not alone around him. We don’t confront the spouse who told something embarrassing we did because it’s easier to just forget she said it.
Will it come off as confrontational to the recipient? No doubt. Is it a little bit of a “jerky behavior”? Probably. But… why is that a bad thing? Why is it inappropriate to make people own up to their bulliness/bigotries? (See what I did there?)
Who’s with me? Let’s hold people accountable for their words and actions. Let’s go change the world! Why NOT?