Oops, I did it again! I abandoned good sense and reason all on account of a little frustration and a fair amount of low quality gin.
This past weekend, I let myself get pulled into a shouting match with someone - specifically someone who made it known that having a shouting match was his aim. I, of underdeveloped social grace and stunted emotional everything, engaged him. And, of course, it wasn't pretty.
You know, with all the increasingly intense "democrat v republican", "liberal v conservative" jibba-jabba going back and forth, it honestly bothers me that there really isn't much honest conversation happening. I've sat there and listened to each side grandstanding, draping themselves with the flag, vilifying everyone who disagrees with their oh-so-well-thought-out perspectives, and otherwise volunteering themselves for sainthood. And, vocabulary aside [albeit woefully adjacent], these conversations don't make any attempt to rise beyond the level of playground bickering and name-calling.
Don't any of you people have any dignity?
No one is listening. And yes, I mean you, noblest reader. We're so quick to be outraged and offended at the first sign of anything contrary to our sacred sensibilities, so quick to lash out and demonize the "obviously wrong" right or the "clearly wrong" left, so quick to open our mouths to congratulate and comfort one another in our shameless anger and ignorance. Adding to the tearful hilarity, we conversationally "remove a rib" with "poor me, poor us" statements drenched in underdog self-righteousness, greedily facilitating quick and dirty self-gratification in the form of wanton intellectual and emotional auto-fellatio.
It's like people are afraid of giving ear to any idea that doesn't come pre-approved by whatever group or party with which they've opted to align themselves. It's as if we believe that our values and ideas as so fragile, so easily corrupted, that the very act of entertaining the opposition will turn us from all we've come to believe to be right and good.
Valid ideas and beliefs, however, come from thoughtful, reasoned investigations and conversations. And, frightening though it may be, that includes objective inquiries and investigations of all sides of an issue or stance coupled with unbiased critical evaluations of our own positions].
No climate is static. Political, economic, social, socioeconomic, etc. et al. - These are in constant flux. As such, we must be willing to engage in fearless evaluations and reevaluations if we ever hope to have any useful conversations about these issues. No doubt, I am a firm believer in the phrase "He that doesn't stand for something will fall for anything". I also believe, however, that one can be flexible in their understanding and approach without compromising their commitment to their beliefs and values.
Listen, people. It's how you came to believe what you believe in the first place. We strengthen ourselves when we are willing to afford ourselves a chance to honestly listen to what the other guy has to say. Hell, we're all in this together. And if no one is willing to listen themselves then they've no reason to say anything.