Recently people have been heaping all sorts of praise on me. Mostly that I’m good, or noble, or similar attributes. They are alluding to the fact that I volunteer weekly at a recovery house for people suffering from addictions, or when I helped organize and subsequently volunteered at a charity barbecue to raise money for Battered Women’s Support Services. When I was taking my old electronics on the bus to be recycled, a woman complimented me on being a good person, compared to all the folks in her building who just chucked everything into the dumpster, up to and including a broken toilet.

Now, I’ve also been called greedy, selfish, and one time even batshit crazy, but those people are assholes, so their opinions are irrelevant.

I want to take a look at the accolades rather than the criticisms, however. To be “noble” is to literally be elite; the nobles are the upper echelon of society. To be “good” means to be better. These titles are exclusive, and maybe rightly so.

But why is exuding a basic amount of compassion and recognizing fundamental human dignity an element of a superior person? Why do we raise it above the average? Why does caring for other human beings make me an elitist? I am not a good person because I refuse to believe that these characteristics are unnatural to the ordinary person. I refuse to acknowledge that the only prerequisite for moral mediocrity is to refrain from actively murdering somebody.

When we make these traits exclusive, we create excuses. If we raise those who dedicate more than just a passing thought to taking care of their community into a higher rank of person, then we exonerate the rest who content themselves with apathy and inaction. No one needs to care about others because most of us recognize ourselves as regular people, and we can just leave compassion to our betters.

So here I am saying that I am not a good person. I am probably a little batshit crazy, but that’s because I am a human being, and know what? Human beings care for each other.

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