Hindsight is 2020Posted: January 9, 2020
A new year is typically accompanied by a bit of reflection—a past year’s accomplishments and failures, an assessment of any milestones passed, remembrance of those we lost, and an inventory of where we are and where we hope to be going. In times of division and open hostility toward one another, this bears even deeper consideration as we navigate an increasingly complicated world that is somehow getting both smaller and larger at the same time. Personally, I have given some thought to my own role in this quagmire and what I might do differently moving forward in hopes of finding common ground, consensus, and fostering an environment that embraces change without ever letting go of that which makes us strong. It has taken our nation 250 years to weave the fabric of our Republic, and I’m bound and determined to do whatever it takes to not lose those hard-earned gains to some meme, fake news article from a Russian troll farm, or Twitter post from the Commander in Chief. Indeed, we need to be better than this, and it must start from within.
Just yesterday I called out a family member for her never-ending political memes on Facebook. Quite honestly, I told her that she ‘needs to give it a rest,’ citing her never-ending anti-Trump posts and warning of a phenomenon I call ‘Liberal Fatigue.’ I suggested that her politics are probably bigger than any meme and that sometimes less is more.
Naturally, this offended my family member and she let me know in no uncertain terms that I was trying to ‘squash her expression.’ Suggestions that her constant posts might be contributing to a smaller voice through attrition and that she ought to value her voice more were met with more offense.
This is just one of the people I scolded for putting too much out there last year. I asked my most MAGA friend if he actually believed that the 40 or so pro-Trump memes a day were netting him any benefit. He said it didn’t matter and that until there’s a reduction in the ignorance around him, he’s going to keep doing his thing. My former neighbor posted her skepticism about climate change—I found it necessary to remind her that the polar bears don’t see it her way and sent an article with it.
Even my own stepmother wasn’t exempt from my wrath—after her umpteenth ‘LIKE if you agree and SHARE if you’re going to vote for him again in 2020,’ I felt compelled to post an article from Christianity Today called “Trump Should Be Removed from Office” and shared my own article to wash it down.
In hindsight, I can’t help but ask—who the hell do I think I am? After all, I’m the one with the website, blog, and podcast, putting it all out there for whomever to see. I like to consider these op-ed venues to be several orders higher than any Facebook post, but are they really? Just because I take an hour to pen a tailored response to a specific issue, does that make my opinion any more valid than that of anyone else? It’s rather narcissistic to believe that my thousand words on any subject adds any substance to my position. Just because I’ve got enough strength in my convictions to power my way through a two-page rant about nearly any given subject doesn’t necessarily mean that opinion is worth a damn. What’s the proverb? Opinions are like what again?
My wife and I were scrolling through Netflix one evening, trying to find some entertainment when she zipped past a title I had put in the queue, “Knock Down the House,” a documentary about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Upon seeing her, I must have made a groan or some disparaging sound. My wife asked me, “Why did you put it in there?” I answered, “Well, that way I can be triggered every time I see it.” We laughed a bit, but I am willing to bet there’s a little more truth in that statement than I care to admit.
I’m not much on New Year’s Resolutions as I tend to give them up for Lent, but I am genuinely trying to be a better person this year than I was last year. To that end, I am going to make space for everyone who feels the need to voice their opinion on the platform of their choosing. Everybody deserves catharsis, and I still believe it has value—even in its lowest common denominator form.
Taking it a step further, I’m going to resist the urge to respond to every post that gets my goat and I will temper my responses appropriately, reminding myself that I AM easily triggered. My father used to tell me not to roll in the mud with pigs—you just end up dirty and the pig likes it.
I am going to consciously ask more questions rather than provide responses in hopes of conjuring dialogue and free exchange of thought. After all, I’m not really out there to change people’s opinions—I’m more interested in expanding the number of ideas accessible to people in hopes that there might be a little more overlap in the Venn diagrams at the end of the day. That’s about all anyone can hope for. It’s about PRO-versation, not CON-versation, and in hindsight, sometimes I missed the mark. Maybe with a little foresight, I can do just a little bit better this year.
- Never Wrestle with a Pig
- Christianity Today--Trump Should Be Removed from Office
- Toldja So?
- Spirited Debate--A How-To Primer in the Days of Social Media
Categorized in: Brian