I don’t need you

On October 30, I taught a Sunday School class of old friends at a congregations I served from 1991-2005. Some of them were wearing “Independent Strong” buttons to generate support for a November 13 vote to disaffiliate from our denomination.

I’ve known these friends well for 31 years. No one–not one of them–intended for their button to send this message, but nevertheless it was the message I heard from each person wearing a button: “I don’t need you.” It is true, of course. They’ve never needed me in a dependency kind of way.

This non-dependency is as it should be and they will be fine without me. I wish them well in their independence, and they disaffiliate with my blessing. Their buttons have prompted within me this question: When have I sent an unintentional “I don’t need you” message to someone?

When have my words, actions or body language discounted or dismissed anyone? Was it their gender, age, physical appearance, skin color, political affiliation, sexual orientation, nationality or faith? Was it intentional? I hope not. But, the message is the same whether intentional or unintentional.

Sometimes, an “I don’t need you” message is intentional. Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake said she didn’t need the vote of supporters of the late Arizonan John McCain, claiming her GOP primary win “drove a stake through the heart of the McCain machine.” This may have won the race for her opponent in the general election, democrat Katie Hobbs.

From “Senator John McCain’s legacy lives even as some try to leave it behind,” by Mark Phillips, ABC 15 News, August 25, 2022

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