Updated: Feb 8
“Please accept me as I am, and don’t try to analyze me or change my opinions.”
Someone said this to me in the middle of day-to-day conversation. I’ve often heard different versions of it in American society, but this statement rather poignantly and concisely wrapped up several ideas in this one statement. And it stuck in my head and bothered me. Here’s why.
So, let’s break this down into parts. “Please accept me as I am.” This expresses a fundamental human need to belong. We all need acceptance so that we can participate in community. Community provides many benefits, including a degree of certainty in our sustenance, and safety from attack. Suffice it to say, to be accepted within your community is a survival imperative. This is totally understandable.
However, in modern-day America, what is fundamentally natural and good, has become dysfunctional. We all want to be courteous and polite in civil society, but acceptance has become a demand. And to make it worse, it is a demand in the name of peace. It says, “Accept my ignorance, inexperience, thoughtlessness, and outright lies because, if you don’t, we cannot be at peace with each other.” In short, avoid reality and truth because I’ll get upset.
So, acceptance has become a preemptive standard to protect against discovery of one’s ignorance and inability to defend one’s ideas, or any challenge to mistake or falsehood. This is a sensitivity that we extend to children, but American adults seem to have never grown up. Instead of pursuing knowledge, engaging in civil discourse, and extending the generally accepted realm of truth, these people avert all conversation and connection for the sake of feeling safe and preserving peace.
Public discourse cannot take place, and intimate connection with one’s friends and relatives is next to impossible because people taking this stance – the majority – diligently avoid discussion of any meaningful idea or issue. It’s an admission of educational unpreparedness. At the same time, they deprive themselves of personal growth, and criminals are allowed to take power in our government.
While holding your tongue and remaining silent is a sign of wisdom, preemptively blocking intelligent conversation is a clear sign that the civilization and society are set up to deteriorate and fall.
So, pretending helplessness and avoiding discussion of issues and
ideas, results in a childlike demeanor that defensively averts any depth of discussion because of fear of being personally analyzed or attacked … fear of being actually seen for who one is. That is, because of fear. Because non-acceptance seems to threaten our survival.
In the third and final part of that sentence, it says, “Don’t try to … change my opinions.” This is presumptuous and arrogant. To make such a statement, a person must assume that their own opinions are all correct, and there is no room to learn anything else. Everyon
e participating in normal adult conversation is always – always – trying to influence another person and their opinions. This is how acceptance occurs: Iron sharpens iron until one or both persons have a piercing insight into whatever issue, and gain an appreciation for the experiences or evidence behind the opposing point of view. Without this interaction, there can be no accepting the other person as they are. That person is hidden. Even ignorance, and the foisting of ignorance on others, remains unchallenged but secretly unaccepted, and divisions result.
This is nothing new, because the authors of the United States Constitution – especially James Madison, its chief architect – understood these points, and leveraged them in the writing of the Constitution. They knew that a feisty public discourse was an absolutely essential ingredient to having a successful democratic republic. Th
e active, evil forces at work to confuse and prevent American civil discourse are undermining the democracy and must lead to the deterioration and fall of this republic. And they have already succeeded unless Americans muster up some courage and engage in the necessary verbal fencing … with civil courtesy, politeness and order.