Rejecting the dogma of “you’re not good enough”
It’s BS coming from the Catholic Church, and BS coming from the left
During my Catholic upbringing, one the main messages hammered into my head was, “You’re not good enough.” That’s some cruel sh!t to inflict on a child, and believe you me, the toxic legacy stuck with me for decades. Only in the last year, did I finally transcend that nonsense (which is a story I tell in my just-released book, “Confessions of a Queer, Catholic Nebraska Boy,” shameless plug).
This morning, my first thought when I woke up was, “Damn it! I’ve been taking that same crap from leftists for the last 20 years.” Not all leftists, of course. Not by a stretch, but there’s been some loud voices doing it. They’ve been around for decades, and the internet has amplified them. No matter what you do or say, it’s just “not good enough” for somebody, and they’ll rake you over the coals for it. I’m so sick of it.
An example: Too many times, it’s not sufficient to critique a public figure who deserves criticism; there’s also gotta be the slam on their audience for being stupid or whatever. Offensive terms like, “sheeple,” get thrown around. (See my essay, “We Should Stop Insulting Animals and Own Our Own Humanity.”) Just for the record, if you’re trying to convince people that they shouldn’t listen to a particular public figure, it’s probably not a good idea to insult those people first. It’ll be something along the lines of, “When so-and-so says something, all these so-called leftists just eat it up, aren’t they idiots.” Maybe slap a label on them like, “Trumpenleft” or “Sputnik left,” whatever those terms are supposed to mean. Personally, I don’t ever want to hear a critique like that ever again.
In the black radical tradition, there’s a concept of “political education.” It’s understood that people brought up in our society will almost inevitably be uninformed, misinformed, or disinformed about vital political, economic and social issues, and that it’s nothing to be ashamed about. Malcolm X said: “Don’t be in a hurry to condemn because he doesn’t do what you do or think as you think or as fast. There was a time when you didn’t know what you know today.” What’s important is to take on the task of becoming politically educated. The Black Panthers envisioned that process as being both individually and community-oriented, and as being integral to their overall revolutionary work.
This tradition is still alive because it’s still valuable.
I get it that it’s frustrating to see people swallowing falsehoods and repeating them. I know that public figures build up a fanbases who believe everything they say, and that’s unfortunate. However, such misinformed or disinformed people should not be the targets of ridicule or dismissal or namecalling. Go for the head of the monster. Punch up. And don’t tell people, “You’re not good enough.”