23 July 2012

Why I Say Things

I joined facebook years ago. It had just become the place to be, taking over myspace and being touted as a place for "grownups" without all the self-promotion, music, obscene wallpapers and swirling technicolor.gifs. As people began to share a public forum, they began speaking their minds as if they were standing in an echo chamber, and not, in fact, yelling at 350 of their closest "friends,"  family, people they hadn't seen since grade school, neighbors, PTO circles, coworkers and grandmas. Not only did this creep a lot of people out and make them feel like they really didn't know each other at all, but it sparked some intense debate and vitriol. I eventually quit facebook for awhile (I didn't like the barrage of weirdness and I wasn't pleased with their privacy policies) but  came back last year to a different scene. People are much more subdued (at least in my newsfeed.) I think most have learned not to step into a room full of people and shout about politics, religion or money. Most, but not all. 

I envy the people who never comment on anything. It either means they have a life and aren't on the computer all day or they just have that special wisdom and maturity to ignore the futile silliness. I confess, not I, to both counts. And it has gotten me deleted from comment forums twice now in regards to guns and GMOs. 

I just have to say something sometimes, and to the people I've said something to recently, it's nothing personal. I've always been like that. It's my nature, seriously. (Have you ever met my mother?)  I would like to explain why I say things, though, so you understand that it isn't your opinion that bothers me, it's your lack of facts and your incendiary rants.

For instance, I don't care if you feel that we're spending too much on social programs. You may even have a point. I do care that you call anyone on public assistance a lazy piece of shit and I will call you on that. I don't care if you have found God. Great! May the holy spirit fill you with peace, love and compassion. I do care if you tell me fags are ruining marriage or science and feminism are destroying America. You'll get an earful. I don't care if you're a proud Atheist. That's fine, may you learn through evidence and questioning. I do care if you hate on Christmas or call all Christians idiots who believe in fairy tales. Not all Christians are like the Westboro Baptists or evolution denialists and many of them are highly educated. Don't piss on Santa, either, is all I'm saying. I don't care if you think natural and organic is the best way to go, just don't say you can cure disease with kale smoothies or that vaccines are a toxic conspiracy. You'll hear from me. Like veganism? Good to know, I'll be sure to make a vegan dish if you come over! Tell me meat is the cause of all cancer and that it is toxic or unnatural for me to eat and I'll have to say something. Talk about GMO crops and the problems of modern agriculture? Good. Using the word "frankenfood"? Notsomuch. Want to shoot your guns and bear arms? Fine, I've always wanted to shoot a gun myself, but never have. But to offer a sale on AR-15 rifles the day after 12 people, including a child, were slaughtered with one? Beyond the pale. You get my point. I 'm fine with opinions and lifestyles and points of view, but I hate lies and misinformation and venom for no other reason than to bolster your "side." 

We can all have differing opinions and that is fine. But when you post something with no factual basis or something blatantly offensive with little forethought, I am here to remind you, a lot of people can hear you. You may not like a dissenting voice, but then again, what did you expect by posting in the first place? Facebook is not a vacuum.

Look, there is too much fear and polarization in America at the moment. It ruins it for the whole country, when we can't compromise, seek better solutions or simply have an intelligent discussion without resorting to name calling, CAPS LOCK, censorship and being all butthurt about everything. 

I think debate is good and healthy. People have called me out many times and if they have a point, I concede it. I've apologized, I've re-shaped my thinking. I've been inspired to do research and learn a new thing or two. I know I have been the catalyst for thought in others as well. I think that is progress. So don't be sore about what I have to say, it doesn't mean I hate you or your stance, or that I'm even mad about it. It simply means, "think."

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