We don't agree about everything and that's OK. What we do agree on is the need to carry on the discussion in a civil way.

Before you contribute to a discussion, familiarize yourself with logical fallacies. Ad hominem attacks will not be tolerated.

The goal here is for civil conversation so be nice; no profanity. Anyone who calls another person an idiot will be banned.

Lastly remember, when someone disagrees with your views it does not mean they like you less as a person. If you can't handle being disagreed with then go away.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

"You're an idiot" and other divisive things we say.

I'm guilty of it myself - some talking head says something pretty ludicrous, my  mouth opens up and out comes something like "what an idiot!" Thankfully, my parents raised me with the mantra "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" so these outbursts are (mostly) limited to yelling at the television.

Unfortunately this seems to be contrary to how things work in the online world. I won't waste your time and mine bemoaning the loss of online civility - all you have to do is read any comments on any news article with even the most passing mention of taxes, religion, or bad drivers.

What I will bemoan today is how rude we are to our political/religious foes when they change their minds. "He was for it before he was against it!" Why is changing your mind a bad thing? ESPECIALLY when the change of opinion is a really good thing?!

Case in-point; several of the most Conservative figure heads have recently acknowledged that fighting same-sex marriage is contrary to the Republican position of less government interference.

(Lest you jump to conclusions too soon -- they are not saying they approve of same-sex marriage, they still think it's icky and immoral.)

  • Bill O'Reilly said: "The compelling argument is on the side of homosexuals. ... We're Americans, we just want to be treated like everybody else. That's a compelling argument, and to deny that you've got to have a very strong argument on the other side. And the other side hasn't been able to do anything but thump the Bible." 
  • Glen Beck said: "We have been so foolish. It is not about gays. It's not about homosexuals. It's about freedom. And the reason why they've won is because they've made it about freedom ... And so the argument has been, 'Who are you to tell me what I can and cannot do?' And by saying, 'Well, because it always is.' What's happened? You've lost. And by doing so, by not turning into it soon enough, what's happened is you've been painted into a corner of a bigot. That's why they've won. Because the principle of it is right ... the principle is easy to understand."
  • Rick Perry said: "We cannot condemn certain lifestyles while turning a blind eye to sins that, in God's eyes, are just as grievous. We must love all ... welcome all...and be a model for Christ."
  • Rush Limbaugh even said: And I think they [gay marriage opponents] are just worried about the survivability of the country. And to which the opponents say, "Well, the country's changing and you better get with it and understand it because this genie's not getting put back in the bottle." And I think that's right. I don't care what this court does with this particular ruling, Proposition 8. I think the inertia is clearly moving in the direction that there is going to be gay marriage at some point nationwide.

But rather than just being grateful that they've been able to work through some of their long-held prejudices and catch up with the times, the media has lambasted them while reporting on their change. Headlines range from things like; "Hell Freezes Over as Glenn Beck Backs Marriage Equality," "When even the looniest Republican politician is signaling that he’s going to support gay marriage, we've clearly passed the tipping point."

My complaint is this - if you're going to make the claim that you are the rational one, you are the voice of reason, you are open and affirming of all, then don't fall to this level of pettiness. These types of responses are why it is so hard for someone in the public eye to change their minds. They're going to get a lot of grief from the co-religionists or party members. Lets us just be thankful they've come to our side and offer them a little support. When opposing sides can at last agree on such polarizing issues, that is the time to embrace the other, to work together, to try to heal some of the incredible division tearing our country apart.

We'll never see eye-to-eye on everything. Let's embrace over things we can embrace over and start engaging in meaningful dialogue to find solutions to other very contentious issues, not resort to childlike name calling.

1 comment:

  1. Flip-flopping or being wishy-washy is not the same as changing your mind. These terms refer to those who change their minds back and forth and back and forth.

    If we cannot change our minds based on new information, then we have no minds at all.