I’d just like to start by saying, I’m just as opinionated as the next person, and like most people, I think I’m right about just about everything, so if you don’t agree with me, it’s highly likely it’s because you are wrong! Now, I say this tongue-in-cheek, but I also have to admit it’s a bit truer than I’d like it to be. I’ll go out on a limb and generalize by saying that most of us are like this.
However, I’ve become completely fed-up with the level of this arrogance in current American political discourse, and so I’ve decided it’s time for me to opt-out of this sort of behaviour and thinking. I’ve bought into all this negativity and have participated in spreading it around, but it’s time to give it up, even though I know there will be times when it’ll be really hard for me to bite my sarcastic and angry tongue!
One thing this entails is no more reading, responding to or re-posting all those negative ‘image bites’ floating around Facebook and other media sites (I don’t know what to call them, but they remind me of the infamous ‘sound bite’ method of getting political information in the US, and which is making us all opinionated but incredibly uninformed citizens!). I think these image bites, whether demonizing Republicans or Democrats, are absolutely pointless. For one thing, they usually don’t contain any ACTUAL INFORMATION. Secondly, I think they’re only purpose is to either pat people on the back who already agree with us by showing how evil/stupid the opposition are which, therefore, makes us feel really superior/intelligent, OR they are just meant to incite rage and bitterness in people who hold a different view of things because generally they take things out of context and again, contain NO REAL INFORMATION. Finally, these ‘political’ messages are never going to convince anyone of anything, so if one hopes to have real discussion of issues or maybe win someone over to one’s way of thinking, this is absolutely not the way to do it.
I have been guilty of reading and reposting these, so this isn’t about me pointing fingers at anyone but myself. So, in the interest of my own sanity, I’m just not going to waste any more time on these. I’m ashamed to have engaged in it at all. I feel in general they are simply disrespectful and harmful. Just look at the way the US is behaving now when it comes to politics! Everyone is just staying in their own thought bubble, unwilling to budge on anything or see different viewpoints and consider different options, because we’ve already vilified anyone and everyone who thinks differently than we do. Now we can’t get anything done and things are falling apart!
From now on, I’m going to read and watch actual news from real news sources. It’s got to come down to real facts, reason and information. I’m not at all saying we should ignore important issues or avoid facing situations that are uncomfortable or confronting ideas, beliefs and policies we disagree with. I know there’s always going to be conflict when it comes to politics, but I just want to put more effort into engaging with conflict and disagreement in respectful, civilized ways. And if people have something to say (me included!), I truly hope they’ll have some cold-hard-facts to back it up, not just some sensational and emotive photo or caption or quotation taken out of context!
I’d like to think there’s still hope for everyone learning to work through political issues like civilized people, so since I’d love to see this change in general, I better take a step towards that by changing myself. So there you go, I’ve said it in cyper-space for all the world to read, so now I better stick to it!