Can we finally agree on the metrics we’ll be using to decide which one of is right? I mean, we all agree that it’s not the dumb stuff: Not how much money we have, not how big our house is, or how clean our bathrooms are.
It’s the important things that we need to add up to be able to really compare ourselves to one another, to really figure out who is helping and who is hurting. We need data to be able to calculate who is good and who is bad after this sad election. A gut feeling isn’t sure enough, polling data isn’t reliable enough.
Let’s make a chart. Start with how much time you put into your community. Do you volunteer? Do you give to charity? But, no offense intended — are you obsessed? I mean, how many times can you post about your cause on Facebook, really? You’ll get dinged for that when we figure out this whole scoring system.
We can include how much time we spend with our loved ones—yes, that’s a good one, right? Not just the amount of time, though. The quality. The mindfulness. Let’s add in points if you meditate or do yoga.
Maybe we need to calculate what we’re saying on one axis and what we’re doing on another.
Answer these questions: Are you politically active, but not bitter or hateful, boastful or smug? Are your arguments easy to understand, but not obvious? Are the pictures you share beautiful and interesting enough to earn favor?
Do you have a career? Do you have a passion? Are you building industry? Are you busy, are you beautiful, are you graceful, are you funny? Are you kind, or do you at least appear to be a kind person on social media?
Do you love God? Do you love freedom? Do you want progress or values? Do you support police or minorities? Let’s put it on the graph. Let’s decide what it’s worth.
Are you thoughtful and independent-minded, or do you just jump on the bandwagon and follow your family, church, neighbors, friends? Do you read? Do you rate your books on Goodreads so everyone else knows that you read? What if you don’t read because you’re too busy, but you do volunteer to a charity that donates books to children? That should count for something.
A safety pin or a red hat? Do we buy clothes made in the USA or clothes made overseas in China, Taiwan, or handmade scarves from France and Italy? Do we vote with our dollar? Do we eat cows but love dogs? Does our growing smugness outweigh our shrinking carbon footprint?
Maybe when we calculate, we’ll find that what counts as good for some people counts against others. We might find that things that started out good turned bad, and vice versa. We’ll find that the bad stuff comes in many different forms, and the good can surprise us.
Anyway, we need to agree on the metrics, people—on exactly what makes citizens good or bad. Then we can finally say, “this tragedy, or that one, happened because those are bad people.” We can say, “just look at the numbers. What did you expect?”