I have previously lamented the ever-deepening chasm that separates the Left from the Right in this country, and how the two opposing camps are quickly deteriorating into some really nasty name-calling and downright guerilla attack tactics, rather than trying to communicate with one another with dignity and civility. I am seeing this more and more, and the progression is alarming!
It reminds me of the way, in the beginning days of Nazi Germany, people were slowly convinced that Jews were horrible, and even that they were not really human beings. It started with name-calling and derogatory media coverage. No facts, mind you, but a lot of really persuasive propaganda. We all know what followed, once the Masses were convinced that the Jews needed to be exterminated. And make no mistake: it happened FAST.
At this point, I am not sure which side is “winning” in the United States. The Conservatives or the Liberals. The Tea Party or the Coffee Party. Pro-Life or Pro-Choice. The one thing I know for sure, and that I think every one of us can agree on, is that each side is firmly convinced that the other side is evil, and therefore must be destroyed.
Point in case: Friday, I read an article on Weather.com about the “Exceptional Drought” that is being experienced by a large portion of our country. It was of interest to me, because here in Texas, we have the most acreage affected by this drought. The article, of course, mentioned Global Warming, as one of the many causes contributing to the situation.
When I was done reading the article, I glanced down at the Comments section, and was shocked by the unwarranted attack that the second commenter had leveled against the first guy to post. I just couldn’t resist putting in my .02. Here are the first 4 comments (including my own) from the exchange, which I think is rather interesting, and certainly proves my point.
T.L: (First Commenter, identified as “Texas A&M”, “Commerce, Texas”, and whose picture shows him holding a guitar) – “It would be folly to think that mankind hasn’t had an effect on the environment, including warming patterns, however, one large volcano like the ones in Iceland, Alaska, or the Phillipines puts out more atmospheric damaging gas than all of the creatures of the Earth. What we could all save in ten years of green movement can be wiped out instantly by one of these volcano eruptions.”
D.M.: (Identified as being from “Rockwall High School”) – “I suggest you spend more time in class and less time playing your guitar so you can get your facts straight…”
A.M.: (Identified as from Fashion Institute of Technology) – “Thanks Dustin, you beat me to the punch…”
Me: (Identified as “Domestic Goddess Homeschool Mom”, LOL) – “I think it would be more helpful in general, if opposing sides could be respectful to one another. Do you seriously have to insult a complete stranger, and use such condescending tones, or could you merely present your evidence, and let others make informed decisions. Don’t expect anybody to believe your point of view, no matter how accurate you think you are, unless you present yourself with dignity and not hatefully.”
Now, there have been dozens of comments left after this initial little exchange, but I am only going to include the ones that were directed at me, by using my name:
D.D.: “Well said, Valarie”
J.P.M.: “amen Valerie, amen.”
斯光源 (aka D.S. on his Facebook page): “Valarie I think that is a sweet view, but in all honesty all that matters is the reality of facts. If someone is sweet, kind and filled with dignity, yet devoid of any hard scientific empirical evidence then they are not worth the air they have just wasted spreading lies.” (Note: I feel sorry for this guy. He clearly is jaded beyond repair, and not worth further comment.)
G.K.: “Yes, THANK YOU V. . .W. . .B . . ., for pointing out the obvious. There is a serious lack of civility in discourse today, especially prevalent from those leaning to the “extreme Conservative/Right” side of issues. You made the point well, in an intelligent fashion, with sincerity and integrity, and like a lady – by that I mean as an intelligent, gracious, polite AND very well informed WOMAN. Thank YOU. Good Wishes to you as you continue on your life journey. Peace.”
T.W.: “Well put Valarie, we tend to forget we are in this life all together and a little love for our fellow brothers and sisters goes a long way.”
Altogether, as of this writing, I’ve gotten 287 “Likes”, and one lady added me as her friend on Facebook! But the one thing I really want to point out is what G.K. had to say to me. She said that “There is a serious lace of civility in discourse today, especially prevalent from those leaning to the “extreme Conservative/Right” side of issues.” She also assumed that I was”intelligent” and “well informed“! However, nothing in my original post gave any indication as to whether or not I was intelligent, well informed, or (and this is the one that I’m hanging my hat on) Liberal! Consider that she believes that Conservative/Right folks are the vicious ones. Yet, because I was able to present my thoughts in a way that was non-threatening and respectful, it seems that folks just assumed we were on the same side of things!
Let me make this very clear: I really, really, appreciate G.K.’s thoughts, and especially her good wishes and peace. I totally honor and receive that! I merely want to demonstrate that she felt like I was a good guy, because I didn’t attack the other side. In reality, I totally agree with what the first commenter, T.L., said, and even think that Global Warming is popular science at its worst. Normally, G.K. and I would never sit on the bus together! But through mutual respect, we were able to build a bridge.
A great riot was dispersed, in Ephesus at the Temple of Artemis, because the most famous of all Christian evangelists, St. Paul, did not attack or insult the “other side”, as it were. In the Biblical Book of Acts, Chapter 19:35-37, we have this amazing tale:
“And when the town clerk had quieted the crowd, he said, “Men of Ephesus, what man is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great Artemis, and of the sacred stone that fell from the sky? Seeing then that these things cannot be contradicted, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash. For you have brought these men here who are neither sacrilegious nor blasphemers of our goddess.”
It is always the better choice not to insult the opposition! So, why can’t this happen more often? Maybe I should start some sort of Facebook Campaign for “Mutual Respect”! What do you all think?