WHY DO YOU CARE?

“Care is the ultimate Generator of the quality of our experience”

–          Mark Passio

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 Last week I opened my Windows 10 (Worst. Operating system. EVER) internet browser, which automatically brings me to a newsfeed, and I saw the following headline: “United Airlines passenger was dragged off flight because he was Asian

I immediately rolled my eyes and did not even bother clicking on the obviously intentionally racially provocative headline.  I knew what the purpose behind it was, but as an act of defiance, I refused to give it my attention.  Of course, it was not something that was just a one-shot headline.  It was turned into a sort of international incident (the man in question was apparently Chinese) and became yet another news soap opera.  The headlines were all over my Twitter feed, so alas, my efforts to ignore this story was somewhat thwarted.

Apparently, the doctor was flying United Airlines, which, in my opinion, was his first mistake.  When it comes to customer service and overall comfort, United Airlines is probably one of the worst airlines that I have ever flown (and I’ve flown it FAR more often than I would have liked to).  They apparently oversold the flight to the point where they couldn’t fit some of their employees on the flight, so they selected this Chinese man to give up his seat.  He refused, stating he was a doctor and had to be to work.  A conflict ensued, which resulted in the man being dragged off the plane by law enforcement.

Not a shining image of customer service to say the least, but the immediate headlines, not surprisingly, became about the man’s race, and the idea that he was selected to be taken off the plane “because he was Asian”.  So why was such a racially provocative spin used?  My best analysis would be that it was focused on and put into the mainstream media echo-chamber to foment racial division and resentment among the Asian community, who by-and-large have been left out of the racial victim narrative fueled by the media over the past few years.  This is an ethnic community that has fared quite well in Western society, so the outrage factor has not been as “organic” as it has been in the Black and Latino communities, and was obviously something that the Hollywood-owned, corporate-government-run media felt needed to be stoked- divide and rule.

Of course, now the man is suing United Airlines and their name is being dragged through the mud- which I can’t say I’m overly upset about.  Conducting your business in such a way warrants these sorts of consequences.  However, at the time it was certainly not an issue that made me care to the point of being compelled to write a blog article about it- that is until someone attempted to foist it on me as something that I SHOULD care that much about.

A few days ago, I was sitting on my couch writing out (on physical paper no less!) ideas for a story when my roommate, after coming home from work, posted up on the couch on the other side of the living room and proceeded to read news headlines aloud to me.  In my perhaps, over-politeness, I refrained from explaining to her that I did not need her to read me news headlines, nor did I really want her to, but instead I let her proceed without any protest.

Eventually she came to the story about the Chinese man on the plane and asked if I’d heard about it.  I told her I had, and regurgitated the initial racially-charged headline I had read (with which she was unfamiliar), and that I didn’t spend much time on it because I felt it to be little more than a distraction piece.  She then took this as an opportunity to fill me in on more details of the event.  My response was that it was “messed up” and that United Airlines was “garbage” and that they deserved to get sued.

However, apparently my simply acknowledging the event as unfortunate and as a prime example of bad business practice did not suffice.  She remarked that I seemed like I was being un-empathetic and acting as though I “didn’t care”.   It was at this point I remarked that I simply felt this was not an issue that warranted an outpouring of emotional outrage, or that there was any productive purpose to feeling that way.  I then asked why it was that I should feel as concerned or upset about this as she obviously was.  Her response was that “it could happen to you”.  To which I responded that any number of unfortunate incidents that were reported on the news could potentially “happen to me”, so that was a non-issue.

She then lamented about how awful it was that this man was humiliated and that he lost money (both things I regard as superficial problems of ego).  I reminded her that he was getting compensated and that he was not maimed.  However, she still insisted that I was not “getting it”.  Becoming frustrated, I stated that at the end of the day, this man has no connection to me as family or friend or tribe, etc., so why am I going to bleed out emotionally for someone who is, at this point, a hypothetical man in time- so no, I didn’t “care”.

After hearing this, my roommate was beside herself in disbelief, perhaps viewing me as some sort of sociopathic monster.  I should point out that this particular individual has a tendency to get very upset to the point of rage when people do not share her moral views or challenge her beliefs and opinions- and when that does happen, she immediately seeks to shut down the conversation, demanding silence from the other participants.  This conversation style does not work well for someone who detests people attempting to force their morality on them or attempting to censor them- which is why I am never the one to initiate conversation with her around current events and broader socio-political issues.

I did have one other thing to add, which was met by verbal hostility and a demand that I cease speaking (which of course I didn’t), and that point was this- even if I was to get outraged and upset for this individual’s situation, what would that do to ease his suffering?  However, my roommate had become enraged that I had dared continue speaking after she demanded the conversation end, to which I explained to her that she did not have the right to demand my silence, but she did have the right to leave the room.

She was yelling at this point, saying I was verbally harassing her and “coming at” her.  To which I had to respond by pointing out the hilarious fact that she had gotten up from her seat, thrown a pillow at my head, and proceeded to aggressively advance towards me, and was now standing right over me- all the while I had not moved from my seat.  Yet somehow, I was the “aggressor”.  Frustrated, she stormed out of the room and went to her bedroom.

While my prime motivation for writing this may very well be cathartic, I think there is an opportunity to address a bigger question here, which is the one in hindsight I wish I had asked her- why do YOU care?  Sure, in the case of my roommate and the United Airlines story, I have my hunches, such as the fact that unfortunate man was a doctor and that she has an almost worshipful admiration of doctors.  It definitely had nothing to do with the racial narrative.  I don’t know for certain, and at this point, I want to shift focus to the larger issue, which is this: when certain stories are brought to our attention, what is it about them that makes us care?  And should we?

First, let’s take a moment to set our definition of the word “care”.  The word care stems from the Old High German word, “chara”, which translates to “grief” or “lament”.  Care is one of those words that is both a verb and a noun in modern English, and as such, has several definitions.  As a verb, it means either to “feel concern or interest; attach importance to something” or to “look after and provide for the needs of”.  As a noun, it means either “the provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of someone or something” or “serious attention or consideration applied to doing something correctly or to avoid damage or risk”.

In these definitions, we actually see a process being described in which a concern driven by a sense of being troubled causes someone to take action to remedy that trouble or disturbance.  The movement through distress to a place of empowerment makes “care” a particularly potent alchemical and creative force.  Occult practitioner, lecturer and activist, Mark Passio had the following to say in regard to this principle of “care”:

The ‘Lost’ Principle, is the dynamic of CARE.  What we care about on a day-to-day basis acts as the driving force of our thoughts and actions.  Care is the ultimate Generator of the quality of our experience.  For this reason, Care has been called the Generative Principle by many Wisdom Traditions.  The word generative is derived from the Latin verb genere, which means ‘to create’

However, as with any expression of human power and potential, there are always going to be those who wish to use the power of others to strengthen themselves in a parasitic manner.  I have written at length about the media and how it uses images and simplistic emotional narratives to trigger the emotions and override logic and reason.  I have also talked about the “echo chamber” the media creates to force certain stories, perspectives and moralities into the public consciousness.  When certain what could be called “outrage” stories are grabbed by the media, they are given certain talking points to shape the narrative of the story, and are then repeated on station after station, and publication after publication creating the perception that THIS is what I SHOULD care about right now.

However, no one is going to care about something if someone flat out states: “This is what we want you to care about, so care about this right now!”  This is why the media needs a “hook” into your emotional psyche; something that is going to mimic something or someone you already care about.  Like a vampire, you need to invite it into your house before it can drain the life out of you.

I’m sure everyone remembers the image of the drowned Syrian child washed up on the beach that was plastered on literally every news media outlet a couple of years ago.  Despite the inconsistencies, the constantly changing backstory around the incident, and the politics involved, the image of a dead child was enough to “hook” many people in spite of  the actual story.  The image of a dead child was so traumatizing for those in our western ‘bubble’ (particularly for people who had children of their own), that it resulted in an outcry for the sorts of social, political and economic policies that will ultimately serve to displace their own children.  It is through manipulation of emotions that people can be made to support things that are in fact quite detrimental to their own interests and those of the people they have real life connection to and their descendants.

Everyone has these sorts of inroads to their psyche that can be exploited and used to make them “care” and feel outrage about things, which often stems from their own personal sense of morality.  For me, this is obviously stories that detail things that appear to potentially threaten my own personal freedom and survival like war, the surveillance state, globalism, and the disenfranchisement and demonization of white men.  But the other sorts of emotional hooks for that some may be less familiar with tend to be stories that involve people abusing children, animals, the disabled, or the elderly.

Much of the reason for this “opening” has to do in part with a strong desire to protect those who I see as genuinely needing protection.  The need to protect is a primary function of the natural man.  I also understand that there are other more personal reasons like my family history, my profession, and past as well as present personal experiences that are going to play a role in shaping who and what I care about when it comes to strangers in news headlines.

However, outside of instances of rape and torture, when it comes to stories of general violence towards mentally and physically capable adults, I am far less apt to have any significant emotional reaction to it (although it is admittedly MUCH harder for me to see a woman get assaulted than a man).  Case in point, the Chinese man on the plane.  Yeah, it probably sucked to get smacked and dragged off the plane, but at the end of the day, he’s gonna be alright.  He got banged up, embarrassed, and lost some money.  Again, that sucks, but at the end of the day, he’s gonna be alright.

So, now that we have established that the media uses “hooks” that mimic people and situations we already care about on some level, so we care about what they want us to, the question becomes, “is this a good thing?” or better yet, “is this a PRODUCTIVE thing?”.  While we are infinite in a spiritual sense, our psychic and energetic resources are very much a finite thing, and can be drained- and emotions are great at facilitating this draining.

When we are allowing these, for all intents and purposes, hypothetical stories and people to take hold of our caring centers, there is inevitably something or someone else that is NOT getting that energy at that moment.  This energy is already being designated to caring about this other situation that we have no real connection to.

Personally, I know that I have just so much energy and care I can afford to give at a given moment until it becomes detrimental to my own health and well-being.  As an empath with anger issues and a history of addiction, I cannot afford to get emotional or outraged over everything that the news media wants me to be emotional or outraged at.  I cannot give true care to everything (and if it isn’t true care, it’s just virtue signaling).  This has been at times, somewhat of a hard reality that I have continually had to reassess in recent days, weeks and months.

The other thing that is finite in this equation is time.  What could I be doing with this time I am choosing to be outraged over this situation involving these people I have no real connection to and probably never will?  Is there someone who is in my life and important to me, that I am neglecting while I give my attention to this?  Is there someone I could be praying for?  Is there someone I could be reaching out to and connecting with?  Is there someone I could be helping within my personal sphere of influence that needs it?

But perhaps you are genuinely moved by the plight of this Chinese doctor or some other stranger that you read or hear about in the news.  Perhaps something about that story moved you to the core of your being.  If that truly is the case, and so long as you are not being harmful or neglectful towards the people you already have responsibilities to (family, friends, tribe, etc.), then by all means, reach out to that person.  Write them a letter; ask them if they need or even want your help; set up a fundraiser or a food drive; perhaps even organize a boycott if applicable- but DO SOMETHING.  Show that person that you care through ACTION.

But take a moment to reflect on why it is that you care.  Take a few moments to pause, look within for a moment and ask Self, “Is this a genuine care and purpose that I should follow?  Or is someone just manipulating my emotions so I do what they want me to?”

And if you do find yourself “caring” about a stranger you read about, please, don’t just use their plight simply as an excuse to be angry or self-righteous about something and “rage”; or to virtue signal; or to justify an attempt to force your personal morality onto those of us who have different values or care about different things than you.  When you are careless with your Care, you will inevitably suffer as a result.

Namaste and God Bless.

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RIGHTS AND EQUALITY (Part 2)

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

– The First Amendment of the United States Constitution

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A woman walks into the break-room of her particular place of employment. She then proceeds to pull out her Bible, stand on top of a chair, and read aloud in a manner that is clearly audible to everyone in the vicinity.  Her co-workers complain about this to management. Management pulls the woman aside and requests that she stop doing this.  The woman replies by stating that management has no right to impede upon her religious freedom, and that this loud Bible reading was an expression of that.  Management replied that the nature of this reading was disruptive to others’ enjoyment of the break-room and potentially interfered with their workplace productivity.

It was at this point the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was called. For those unfamiliar, the EEOC is a federal agency established by an executive order from John F. Kennedy in 1961.  The EEOC administers and enforces civil rights laws against workplace discrimination, as well as investigates discrimination complaints based on an individual’s race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual preference, age, disability, genetic information, and retaliation for reporting, participating in, and/or opposing a discriminatory practice.

official-seal-of-the-equal-employment-opportunity-commission-eeocThe EEOC sent an investigator to look into the complaint of discrimination filed by the Bible-reading woman.  However, much to the woman’s surprise, the investigator proceeded to inform her that her “rights” had not been violated by the employer’s request, and that her grandiose reading of the Bible may have been offensive to her co-workers and thus intruding on their “rights”.

A close friend of mine relayed this story to me, which was in turn told to her by the aforementioned EEOC investigator as a part of a corporate “sensitivity training” given at her place of employment.  Interestingly, the EEOC bureaucrat/sensitivity trainer cited this story as an example of how “protected classes” are now using their “protected” status to infringe upon the rights of others.  My friend then asked me what my thoughts were on the matter, and I can definitely say they were not what she was hoping for.

My first response was to state that Christians, especially Evangelical or Fundamentalist types (of which I am neither, but this woman obviously was), were no longer really treated as a “protected class” in the eyes of the Federal Government or mainstream culture.  Evangelical Christians have actually been labelled as “more dangerous than ISIS” by the feds and the “liberal” media.   A few examples of this “protection” of Christians were cited in a recent (2012) joint report by the Liberty Institute and the Family Research Council:

• A federal judge threatened “incarceration” to a high school valedictorian unless she removed references to Jesus from her graduation speech.
• City officials prohibited senior citizens from praying over their meals, listening to religious messages or singing gospel songs at a senior activities center.
• A public school official physically lifted an elementary school student from his seat and reprimanded him in front of his classmates for praying over his lunch.
• Following U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ policies, a federal government official sought to censor a pastor’s prayer, eliminating references to Jesus, during a Memorial Day ceremony honoring veterans at a national cemetery.
• Public school officials prohibited students from handing out gifts because they contained religious messages.
• A public school official prevented a student from handing out flyers inviting her classmates to an event at her church.
• A public university’s law school banned a Christian organization because it required its officers to adhere to a statement of faith that the university disagreed with.
• The U.S. Department of Justice argued before the Supreme Court that the federal government can tell churches and synagogues which pastors and rabbis it can hire and fire.
• The State of Texas sought to approve and regulate what religious seminaries can teach.
• Through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, the federal government is forcing religious organizations to provide insurance for birth control and abortion-inducing drugs in direct violation of their religious beliefs.
• The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs banned the mention of God from veterans’ funerals, overriding the wishes of the deceased’s families.
• A federal judge held that prayers before a state House of Representatives could be to Allah but not to Jesus.

Another interesting anecdote of workplace “discrimination” involved a Muslim worker at a GAP store who prayed in the aisle daily.  In response, a Christian co-worker put a Bible on his own desk and would read silently while the Muslim employee prayed.  The Muslim employee complained about this to management and the Christian was fired without warning.  Now the Muslim GAP employee had numerous complaints against him from others due to “loud prayers” and “blocking the aisle”.  It was also apparently against company policy for religious viewpoints to be expressed within the company; however this policy appears to have been selectively enforced as the Muslim employee did not lose his job, but the Christian employee did.

Now this is not to say that other religious and minority groups have not suffered workplace persecution in the past, but now the mainstream narrative has definitively flipped (unless you’re watching Fox News).  As I have talked about in previous postings, the culture of political correctness has become totalitarian in nature, with people losing their careers and being blacklisted over saying anything that is “deemed” as racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Semitic, or “intolerant” in any way.

However, there is one group that political-correctness does NOT apply to. Think about who it is “okay” to make fun of and demonize without fear of backlash and being labelled, “racist”, “bigot”, “Nazi”, “anti-Semite”, “homophobe”, or any of the other words used to demonize those who are outside the PC mainstream.  You know who it is…  So yes, while it is true that the “protected classes” have become the oppressors, to group Christians in this category is a misleading statement at best and an obfuscation of the current power structure.

Moving back to the conversation with my friend and the story of the EEOC investigator and my response to it.  I questioned how it was the duty of the federal government to settle a private dispute between a private employer and employee on private property, and why it was the government’s job to regulate “discrimination”.  Even if you believe in the “law” of the Constitution, there is no place where the federal government is given that “right” or that responsibility.

Now I worked in the labor movement for the better part of three years, and I still believe in standing up for yourself when it comes to the workplace and the fruits of one’s own labor.  I will continuously advocate for the power of the boycott and the strike as organic expressions of free will (even if not always motivated from a “higher mind”).  However, the moral dilemma comes when the government gets involved. Government, by and large, can be summed up with two words- force and control.  This friend tends to chastise this point of view as a vehement and irrational “hatred” of government.

When it comes to labor and discrimination in the workplace, the premise behind getting government involved is to try and FORCE someone to do the “right thing” and/or, as my friend put it, “hold them accountable”, when they do the “wrong” thing.  Now, even if you believe in “rights” as a real thing, how is forcing anyone to do anything not considered a violation of THEIR RIGHTS?  That is circular logic, is it not? And what exactly is this need to “hold them accountable”, i.e. see them punished, all about?

There is a deep psychological desire for us to see quantifiable, measurable results to things. We need “closure” to move on from traumatic events.  We desire retribution towards those who have offended our ego.  This is at the root of our need to SEE “justice” done.   Even those of us who say we believe in or “know” Karma, often still feel that those who do wrong need to be punished in a way that is satisfactory to us, specifically our ego, or finite mind: “This person took something from me or caused me pain, so I NEED to be sure they will suffer as a direct result of what they did to ME”.

In other words, we want to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this “wrongdoer” has indeed been punished.  We don’t want to wait for the Law of the Universe to work in Its own eternal time and fashion- we want justice RIGHT NOW.  We want vengeance RIGHT NOW.  And this sense of “justice” can be projected onto the situations of others, causing us to believe we are identifying with them, when really, it’s about US and what we are identified with and attached to.  All of these thoughts and emotions are emanations of the lower mind that is completely absorbed in the physical world and has no faith in ANYTHING it can’t see, hear, touch, taste or smell.

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When I explained to my friend that people were ALWAYS “held accountable” by the Divine Law of the Universe when they acted immorally and maliciously towards others, she got pretty pissed off.  She stated that I was “looking down” from a position of “privilege” (there’s that word again).  I attempted to explain how, from the perspective of the Eternal Soul, that a person’s struggles of “oppression” may have been exactly what that person needed for their personal spiritual growth in this lifetime.  It also could have very well been the “reaping” of “sown seeds”.  With this, I was accused of being impractical and not “grounded in reality”.  In a way this is “looking down”.  It is looking down from the perspective of infinite spirit/soul as opposed to looking up from the perspective of finite body/mind.

My friend proceeded to cite examples of workplace insensitivity, which were racially-based.  These stories involved a company in which an African-American employee was “jokingly” threatened with a noose and a Middle-Eastern man was required to park in a parking spot that had been labelled “terrorist”.  While absolutely disrespectful and insensitive, and potentially even threatening, I still did not share her belief that the presence of an “entity to hold people accountable” was necessary or truly effective and productive.  The belief that such entities are needed is to affirm a position of bondage, therefore affirming the superiority of one individual or entity over another.  To top it off, forcing anyone to do anything only breeds resentment, not tolerance.

What really struck me was how the Middle Eastern man felt “trapped” because he “needed” that job to support his family.  I am “privileged” that I don’t have to worry about supporting a family and I do have empathy for this man as I understand that the basic instinctual desire to provide for one’s children can quickly put one into desperation or “survival mode”.  However, empathy is not pity.  Pity is looking upon someone as weak and powerless, rather than as a unique expression of the Divine Creator and possessing incredible creative power and potential. There are unlimited potential outcomes to any given situation, but when we are overtaken with fear, our consciousness becomes rigid and we develop a sort of “tunnel-vision”, making it much harder to see all possibilities and choose with clarity.

Unfortunately, my friend saw me as being detached and unsympathetic to the plights of others. She stated that if I had encountered real discrimination that I would not view things in this manner. Indeed my past situations of discrimination didn’t mirror those of others; they were mine.  My friend eventually became so worked up due to my stance that she stormed off.

Later she told me that the reason she had gotten so upset was because she herself was feeling discriminated against at work.  She found herself in a compromising situation with someone who was management, and now this person threatened her job if she told anyone what had happened.  She now felt she was being intentionally ostracized from various “team-building” outings in her department.  She said that the environment in the office was incredibly hostile towards her and she was afraid to go to anyone due to the manager’s threat.

I asked my friend about talking to higher-ups within the company and telling them of the manager’s conduct.  I also told her she had an option with bringing a case to the Labor Board as well (even though it pained me to suggest going to government).  I also suggested she talk to people face to face directly regarding this matter.  However, she said she was worried about her reputation in the company and “making things worse”.  She also did not want to quit this job because it was well-paying and she had only started in the last several months.

While my friend felt powerless, it was ultimately her fear that made it most difficult.  It was the fear of having to make an UNCOMFORTABLE choice that could potentially make life uncomfortable for a time.  We want life to be as comfortable and hassle-free as possible- this is the vice of the modern western man/woman.  The statement is true that “where there is a will there is a way”- it just depends on how much you’re willing to sacrifice and how open and committed you are to thinking “outside the box”.

When viewed from the finite mind, these types of situations appear to present a threat to our very survival.   Anything that appears to have the potential to threaten our livelihood is something that we associate with death on a deep subconscious/unconscious level.  But the truth is that the vast majority things that get this response from us are NOT life or death situations at all.  This is why stress-related disease is rampant in modern society.  We put up with a lot that we don’t need to because we are so terrified of death.  And it’s not even really death, but the FEAR of death- the creeping uncertainty of the unknown- that keeps us mentally imprisoned.

When people and situations arise that seem to make our work in the world intolerable, we may do well to ask ourselves; “Is this really the work that I’m meant to be doing?  Is this really expressing the highest creative potential of my soul or am I just being a cog in a machine?  Am I here because this is the path mainstream society says I should be taking with my skill set? And if so, is there something more creative and enriching I could do with my time and potential?  Am I thriving here, or am I really just here to survive?  Am I here because I love this work and it makes the world a better place, or am I really just in it for the money?”

These are hard questions that I have asked myself continuously and continue to do so.  I know that the only reason I ever feel stuck or trapped in a situation is because I have convinced myself that is the case and/or I have believed what everyone else says is the case.  This is a universal truth that is applicable regardless of your “privilege” or lack thereof.  Now this isn’t to say that some situations don’t present harder choices than others.  Nor am I saying that our decisions should be taken at selfish whimsy.  What I am saying is that at the end of the day, our state of consciousness trumps any outside factors, regardless of how imposing, powerful or monolithic those factors may appear to be.

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Perspective shapes reality.  We can choose to see things from the limited perspective of the finite mind or from a higher mode of consciousness.  People only have power over us when we give our power to them.  If we believe our options in life are limited, then they will be.  Now of course, there is need to know and understand how to utilize our limitless potential, just as there is need for moral grounding so we use it appropriately.  But make no mistake about it, our potential is boundless, we just need to have faith and be fearless.  And if we do “lose”, we “don’t lose the lesson” and think our life is over.

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Not all sacrifices are worth making, but a degree of sacrifice and discomfort is inevitable if we want to grow to our full potential and be free men and women.

Sometimes our calling may be to confront a petty tyrant that is persecuting and oppressing people.  Perhaps we need to shine a light on their actions or perhaps even defend ourselves or another person.  But when we do this, we would do well to check within and be sure we are acting from a place of compassion and moral clarity as opposed to fear-based self-righteousness.  Sometimes the line is VERY fine indeed.

At the end of the day, some people are going to be intolerant or bigoted or just plain assholes and NOTHING- no amount of shaming or punishment will ever change that.  We can however change ourselves, how we relate to the world and how we treat other beings.  That is where REAL change can occur.

Namaste and God Bless.