If I say “black,” you know what I mean. If I say “white,” the same applies. If I say “grey,” there is a range of colors I may be referring to.
I am an open minded person, always willing to hear new points of view and independent thought. I’ve run out of patience for people who parrot a point of view they do not even understand, people who can not produce an independent thought because they have not had a thought of their own in quite some time. This is the downside of the internet, people just repeating without understanding. The darker edge is people who repeat knowing the story is factually incorrect, but also knowing it is “believable,” in other words, no one will bother to check the facts. With their fingers on a computer, looking at the monitor, no one will check the facts.
Nowhere is this more evident than in American politics. With all our talk about freedom and free-thinking, outside of the two major political parties is a small fringe of groups too small to be significant in any way. Americans know that if they want to vote for a winning candidate, it will have to be a Democrat or Republican.
Take a breath. Why do people want to vote for a winning candidate? I don’t mean “Why would they want their candidate to win?”, I mean “Why is winning more important than representing?”. Isn’t the concept of democratic elections supposed to be finding a representative of your point of view? Voting used to be about expressing your opinion, but increasingly the winning side seems to believe the losing side no longer matters. That’s a baby step away from believing the voters don’t matter regardless of their vote, what is often referred to as a dictatorship. It’s not supposed to be all or nothing, don’t make it that way.
So in a country of three hundred eleven million people, there are only two opinions, and one of them is wrong. I can not be the only person who sees a flaw in that concept.
As the ability to see grey has diminished, the idea that all members of a political movement are exactly the same has flourished. No one thinks they are stupid, so the members of the other party must be stupid. Every last one of them. Why else would they have voted for that moronic candidate? They are not only stupid, they are vengeful, they hate my candidate and my way of life. They must be destroyed.
Facing a perceived life or death struggle, the truth takes the back seat, and then jumps out the window. Fair and open debate is unnecessary, in fact impossible, when your opposite is a stupid hateful sub-human.
You’re nodding your head. You know people like that. Them.
It is us. All of us. If we do not engage in honest debate we are no better than anyone else. That is where I have drawn my line. Honest debate. I have a few fewer friends now, because I went through my list and removed the people who have chosen to repeatedly advance an argument they know to be false. Three liberals and one conservative, but it could easily have broken the other way, those are just the voices I tired of today.
The topics vary, but the opinions congregate at the poles. Global warming, gun control, the middle east, religion, sexual preferences, even the frequency of A4 on the musical scale. Yeah, there are groups who believe there is a conspiracy to remove humans from nature because the standard tuning is A4=440hz. All I’m going to say is (1) when anyone tells you there is a conspiracy, and it includes the 1829 Paris Opera and Hermann Goebbels, they have lost their minds. (2) Hertz is an arbitrary measurement, there is nothing inherently natural about any frequency. (3) Music is subjective, there is no objective measurement of good or bad sounds.
A gun rights group circulated a photograph of a modified AR-15, with a collapsible stock, a barrel under fourteen inches including the suppressor, and a select fire switch set to “auto,” with the question “should you have to obtain a permit to own this?” Well yes, in line with the National Firearms Act of 1934, there are at least three prohibited features, but the responses ranged from “No” to “Hell no, never, kill the gun grabbers.” Goodbye group, you do not reflect my opinion.
Sometimes it is just the blood lust, the desire to fight, that drives those wannabe extremists. One ex friend, a sweet, peaceful person, saw a government conspiracy in every dark corner. It didn’t matter which government, who ever was in charge was evil. An ice skater couldn’t keep up with her spins as Egypt changed hands three times last year. Cheering on anyone who would protest from her comfy dorm room, I never once saw her suggest compromise, no matter how much blood was spilled. That blood was on the hands of “the brutal oppressors,” but those same oppressors were the oppressed last week, and may again be oppressed next week.
Some of it is the anonymity of the internet. People who would never think of throwing insults with every breath face to face have no problem attacking the morals, families, or private lives of strangers on the internet.
I won’t do it. I will not be drawn in to dishonest conversations. I will not bang my head against the wall with someone who refuses to acknowledge the merits of a conflicting opinion (not agree with it, just acknowledge its merits). I will not associate with people who agree with my point of view, but engage in such tactics. I can not win an argument in which I lose my soul, no opinion is worth discarding your core principles.
There are some issues that are black and white, and I do have a few. This does not mean I can not have a friendly conversation about them, but if you do not share my point of view, I will not insult you, and I expect the same of my friends.