In Maine, today is no longer known as Columbus Day. The governor signed a law stating that we are now celebrating Indigenous People’s Day. Those who wanted the holiday renamed said that it celebrated a man who did far more harm than good to the native people of the Americas.

I read an article the other day featuring voices of several people who didn’t like the name change. They couldn’t really speak to the criticism of Columbus, just that they don’t want to change it.

They seemed like the kind of people who were also against wishing people Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas or who get upset when you want to change a high school football team’s mascot because it offends the group it is meant to represent.

I find it hard to figure out why any other white guy like me would really care, or demand to keep things the way they are.

Does it matter what they tell you when you leave Wal-Mart in December, really? Will you stop cheering for, or rooting against, a certain team because their mascot changes? Do you really worry that the next generation won’t understand the history of the confederacy without statues?

I think the other guys care as much as I do, as to say that they don’t specifically care at all because it isn’t about a greeting or history lesson. I think they make a stink about these things because it’s change, and it’s change that favors the opinion of someone who doesn’t look like them nor shares a common background. You could call this racist but…nothing. It’s fucking racist. It’s the very definition.

But as someone who has probably silently supported these traditional standards, I think it’s important I take a moment to recognize that there are people who care and who are offended for deep personal and cultural reasons.

If it genuinely bothers you that the Redskins are the local football team or that a Robert E. Lee monument sits at the front of your library, well then I say to you…sorry. I didn’t know it bothered you, but I listened to your rational, well explained reasons. Let’s try to make the community more inclusive. Let’s change it.

You can wish me a Happy Hanukkah. I’m not Jewish, but whatever. If you confuse me as being Jewish, again, whatever. Give me an old Merry Christmas, or Super Fun Kwanza or say Happy Holidays. It’s all good.

 

Bringing this back to porn addiction…

I think fear of change (in this case, our long history of silence and ignoring the problem) is the reason nobody wants to talk about pornography, or the hellish addiction it’s currently bestowing upon the young adults in our society. If we talk about porn addiction, we have to admit that people look at porn and that it can lead to problems. It’s still too much to stomach for many people.

Do you know what offends me? When a podcast about solving problems in marriage asks for pitches from potential guests and I drop several statistics on them that show porn is a growing issue in marriages, but get a response saying that their show doesn’t think it’s the right time, or it’s the wrong direction, to talk about pornography addiction. Right, let’s talk about more important issues, like painting vs. wallpapering.

It offends me when a library or church group books me to give a presentation about pornography addiction and then someone on the board of trustees or parish council or whatever decides it’s not a good idea because I’m talking about solutions to a substance…that personally offends them! I’ve heard everything from “We’re afraid people who attend will be mistakenly labeled as addicts” to “If we hold this presentation, certain people may believe we are promoting the use of pornography.”

Sure, maybe the morons will think you’re promoting pornography, but that’s why they are morons. We can’t let our standard be that we tailor our message to the morons in society or we have a moronic society.

And yeah, I guess I’m not offended about people’s willful ignorance or shunning of pornography addiction, but I’m scared. I know more data than most researchers about pornography addiction. I’ve seen the depths of its depravity within myself, I’ve contemplated the horrors of it from a jail cell and I pulled myself out of it – but I’ve also seen for every one of me, there are exponentially more that don’t recover for a number of reasons, and how society treats them, when they even acknowledge them at all.

I am scared of a changing world where 1/3rd of men between 18 and 30 label themselves as having a problem with pornography. I’m scared of a world where 80% of female porn addiction addicts take their addiction off the computer screen and actually engage in real-life sexual encounters. I’m scared of a world where 98% of married men and 70% of married women looked at online porn in the last 6 months. In 2010, 47% of American households said porn is currently or was a problem in their home at some point. Do you really think that scary number has gone down in a decade?

 

Wrapping things up…

I think the problem comes down to the fact too many in this country look to the people around them to know how to think and feel about things. Have you ever tried to have a rational conversation with somebody who can only spit the liberal talking points they heard on MSNBC or the conservative talking points they heard of Fox News back at you? When you present them with a counterargument, they get flustered and often result to name calling and attacking the other side. As a guy who is in neither group, I’ve got to tell both of you…you look and sound exactly the same to me. It’s a shame you can’t see it.

Saying or thinking the phrase “porn addiction education” doesn’t make you an addict, nor someone condones pornography. Having a problem with porn addiction education is about having a problem with something else entirely.

Let’s get these indigenous people who despise Columbus in a room with people who really believe that the world is going to be worse off by not recognizing Christopher Columbus and have them explain their beliefs to one another with no bullet points from their political silos. Let me talk to these people who preach “open dialogue” so I can find out what their real issues with pornography addiction education is and why that doesn’t meet the criteria for such dialogue.

Our country is divided because we don’t talk about our differences and solve our problems collectively. We’re wasting too much time doing this while our problems and differences continue to multiply.

Happy Indigenous People’s Day. Try not to look at any porn.

 

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