Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Queasy Feeling

There’s something happening, and I feel uneasy about it.

Ominous, right?

Let me explain.  

I am addicted to debating politics, religion… all the heavy handed issues. I love reading the news, opinion pieces, my Facebook feed- you name it. I am fascinated by what people believe and why. I am open to discussion when it is civil, respectful, logical and relevant. I like to talk about pop culture just about as much, but you won’t find as many fascinating debates about why on earth they canceled Veronica Mars yet Smallville remained on the air for YEARS after they should have just called it quits. So, that means I am left with the juicy stuff. In my efforts to stay up to date on important issues, I have been seeing some things happening that make me wonder…

1.       A left or right of center focus.

2.       The “I have a right to believe what I want to and tear you down for disagreeing with me because you are not allowed to disagree” mentality.

A left or right of center focus.

People seem to enjoy getting off topic just so they can keep arguing. This is the only explanation I have for folks that spends gobs of time attacking positions that are not being defended. A good example of this can be found in Internet discussions about the subject of my last post. In short, I see a lot of this:

Robert: I support Cathy’s right to free speech.

Darrel: Why don’t you want gay people to find love?

Hmm. Both people are attempting to talk about the same issue, but Darrel’s focus is not on the statement Robert made: his focus is on what he wants to believe Gary wants. It works the other way as well, unfortunately:

                Danielle: I choose not to support CFA because of Cathy’s views.

                Rachel: Why do you hate Christianity?

It bothers me that people are too busy talking around each other to actually understand the issues.

The “I have a right to believe what I want to and tear you down for disagreeing with me because you are not allowed to disagree” mentality.

This is particularly disturbing to me. The deeper we get into this election season, the worse this mentality rears its ugly head. It is incredibly difficult to listen and try to understand someone while you are being called an intolerant bigot, for example. I have seen this trend again with the CFA debacle. There are several photos circulating with jabs like “I wish I saw Christians lining up to help at food pantries like they lined up at Chick-Fil-A to support a bigot.” The following quote comes to mind:

My dear,

I can’t hear you.

What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.

So speak to me with your actions, not your words. Speak to me with your doings, not your mouth. Speak to me with your hands, not your voice.

For your actions drown out what you say to the point that that’s all I hear.
Falsely Yours,

Ralph Waldo Emerson

It is easy to circulate jabs at those you think don’t agree with you. It is difficult yet WORTHWHILE to lose the insults and listen. This also works both ways. For example, I have seen some pro-life folks take jabs and condemn abortion workers that try to leave the industry, as well as women that have had an abortion and are seeking comfort/healing. This form of self righteousness is completely inappropriate and does not help. Would it not be beneficial to all involved if we listened instead of insult?


  1. I don't usually discuss politics, unless it is with someone who is patient and does not get angry with me when I can't find the words to express myself. That means, I usually only discuss it with my husband, because he explains himself, and lets me ramble, but doesn't tell me I'm wrong, even if he believes I am :) Not to mention, I sometimes don't even know what the right stance is on some issues. I think it's a little harder for me, because I was raised Methodist, and converted to Catholicism, therefore I have conflicting views on things, even in my own head.

  2. I think that internal conflict is healthy though. It tells you to pay more attention to those issues and to seek out solutions. I am also at a loss for words sometimes (Shocker, I know!) but that doesn't mean that I do not "know" it in my head. I just need time to formulate and process.


Comments are always welcome! Come join me on:
Twitter: @jessfayette