I had a great beginning for this post at 11:45pm last night. It was brilliant. I closed my eyes tighter as I drifted off to sleep believing that this would be the day that I woke remembering my genius word for word. It wasn’t.
I have been a little dry on the word front lately. I have great ideas, mighty thoughts flowing through the grey mush, arguments a plenty yet they have all stubbornly remained locked within. Every time I begin to type or mentally prerecord my post, I start to edit it to such an extent that I am left with no words and no post. Every word is subject to another’s feelings and the impact it may have on them. If Jane read that what would she think. I love Kylie dearly, how would she feel to have her views portrayed so severely. This fear, that I have labelled as a virtue, has had me crippled. Not good for my blog or my writing process.
Then I begin to remember that I believe in the freedom of speech. That the sharing of ideas is constructive to the democratic process. That my opinion is only that … my opinion.
It is a worthy opinion though. Just as worthy (if not more so) than some that seem to receive too much air. Hopefully it is not as full of contradictions as the many that I mentally pick out in others. A friend recently posted two pictures one after the other on Facebook recently. The first (or it could have been the second) was a picture stating that we all need guns to keep us safe or something to that affect. The other stated that if we have God in our lives then we have all we need.
I stared at my screen in disbelief. I’m quite fond of this particular ‘friend’. She actually is counted as a friend in real life. Consequently, I did not want to offend her or be critical of her wall. So I shut my laptop. My husband walked into the room while I was still processing my feelings. Opening the laptop, I told him that he MUST come look at ‘this’ right away. He did. He read, he grimaced, he shrugged implying that I should let it go. I asked him whether it would be appropriate to respond “I guess you don’t need guns then” under the God post. “No, I don’t think you need to do that.”
He was wrong. I needed to do that.
I have another Facebook ‘friend’ who is rather vocal in her support of guns and regularly promotes her views across her wall. In December, many of these posts (if not all) had my blood pressure rising. Generally when I feel the need to react I do run the idea by my hubby just in case I am being a little irrational or in case my intended response is a little too honest. He suggested that I put the computer away and stop reading Facebook.
Well we all know that didn’t happen. The pressure bubbled over into the school yard and I let out a little bit of steam with some of the mums in the playground. Unfortunately not enough. The next time I was back on my laptop, the words came tumbling out (possibly when Obama was compared to Hitler, possibly when she began to advocate that teachers have guns in the classroom, or it could have been something else). She responded, I responded, her Dad responded, I shut the computer down and I walked away.
Deep breathes were taken, dinner was prepared. I knew that there was no point to this. She was not going to be convinced of my point of view as she felt it was as insane as I thought hers was. Actually that may not be true. I was left with the impression that she thought I was naive not crazy. In any case, I should let it go. I didn’t.
Every comment I posted was formulated after the steam had passed through my ears. I read through it many more times than I do my blog posts and then again before hitting the send button. When you post on somebody’s wall, everyone with access can read it (which I was fine with bc I was happy to educate the masses) and everyone with access can comment. A couple more did. Thankfully no one was rude and we kept it quite civil. However, it did reach a point where I realised that I had had my say. I had also read more of the other person’s points of view that I needed to. The conclusion I faced was that there was a rationality missing from their world which prevented my arguments from penetrating.
Deciding to bow out before I said something that I may well regret, I suggested we agree to disagree. She agreed. I actually contemplated unfriending thinking it might help some of my stress levels. The option is not completely off the table but for now I’m letting it be.
Why? Another friend asked me why I am still friends with someone with such beliefs. My FB friend’s friends are probably asking her the same thing.
Even though her point of view drives me crazy. Even though I struggle to understand how anybody could have ‘such’ a world view. Even though I wish she would stop posting all the propaganda on her wall. Once upon a time, when our world’s connected in the physical rather than the virtual, there was value in our friendship. At times it may be hard to remember what it was but I do know it existed and that it is worth something.
So this is my resolution. Not to shut up and be silent. I see no value in that. My resolution is to attempt virtue that is coupled with wisdom. To be able to express myself in such a way that I don’t appear as crazy as I think the other person is. To discuss ideas.
It could be an uphill struggle …