"Opinions are like assholes...
...and everybody's got one." ~ Salt 'n Pepa (1993) There've been a ton of blogs written on the danger of becoming too insular in the "new 'net"; the 'net that is moving ever closer to being highly curated and driven by apps, providing people with only one voice, one view of what's out there on any given topic. I'm just as guilty as the next person, predominantly listening to what I want to, what pleases me, what I agree with or what inspires me, rather than availing myself too much to the "other side"; and while I don't consistently pursue that other side a great deal either, on Twitter I do follow the odd writer or media outlet that I regularly disagree with or sometimes vehemently oppose (disclosure: notably not anything to do with Fox or SunMedia, because my mental health is just too important to me and I choose to not avail myself to such evil).
So, without intending to earlier this past weekend on Twitter, I ended up having an interesting dialogue with a blogger for one of our Canadian national papers from that "other side" of my political and ideological sensibilities. I didn't realize who the writer was at first. Originally, I was just replying to a comment that I saw from one of my tweeples, but as the tone changed, I had to take a closer look at who I was following.
I'll save you the rehashing of the entire conversation because you can review it yourself here (between @karensd & @unambig) and really, the only purpose it would serve herein would be to more thoroughly articulate my points (because of course, I still believe I'm right and so does he). Nonetheless...
What appalled me about this whole stream of back 'n forth was the antagonistic, patronizing, paternalistic approach of said writer from the other side and right from the onset.
Why is it when someone has a differing opinion, people tend to pat you on the head and tell you you've missed the point? It's self-aggrandizing, petulant and immature and certainly doesn't produce dialogue, does it?
I'm interested in real dialogue. Real discussion. Real growth as a human being and as a critical thinker. Don't you think that we all have something to learn from one another? Is there not a nugget of truth in someone's perspective that could possibly ring true for oneself as well, even if you're on "other side"?
Throughout the entire conversation I had to choose to be ever present because quite honestly I found myself wanting to be derisive and patronizing right back, and it took a lot of restraint for me not to do that. Further disclosure: the original intent of this blog was also entirely different from what's actually come to fruition too. It's difficult to not fall into the trap of hashing, rehashing, stating over and over again to make one's point and show someone just how wrong they are.
Later on in the same evening, I heard something on a recent podcast from CBC's Definitely Not the Opera where the speaker simply stated, we are "yearning to being visible to one another" and so, I'm choosing to simply be grateful for being visible to @unambig, even if I don't agree with him.
What I can do and what I choose to do is state my perspective, call out rhetoric and inflammatory commentary for exactly what it is and stick to the issues. I am choosing to not put people down, insult their intelligence or throw invective into the wind.
I continue to choose dialogue.
And in my strongest statement I'm also choosing to continue to not patronize this particular writer's paper, as long as he and writers like him continue to patronize their audience.