people yelling at each other

Yes, yes, I know you'll help me pack. I'm not asking you to miss me. You've taken over the country. What more do you want?

Wandering around the internet today, I sampled a tiny taste of the bitter online political sniping that litters the net. From this election blog, I read comments posted by right-wingers, and found the right's silly response to the global apology website. And on from there.

Right-wingers have been emailing me, trying to bait me into arguments that I'm utterly uninterested in having. Apparently they are all about eight years old, as that's the last time I heard "What are you, chicken?" used effectively.

It's difficult for me to understand why people waste their time on this kind of thing. No one is listening to each other, so no one is even coming close to making her/his point of view heard in any constructive way. Anyone with enough of an opinion to bother posting online probably feels pretty strongly about her/his beliefs. It's not a debate. It's just a shouting match.

I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything. I do try to move like-minded citizens to action, as I think political action is important. I do try to educate, and hope others do the same for me. I will occasionally discuss a specific issue with someone who seems to have an open mind. A co-worker who reads this blog thanked me for making him think more about the war against Iraq. That might have been my greatest accomplishment of the year. (So it's been a slow year.)

But why would I want to waste my valuable time and energy screaming back and forth with people whose ideas repulse me, and who feel the same about me?


Anonymous said...

If we don't engage people who see things differently than we do, how can we turn the tide towards our causes?

After all, it seems that progressives are in the minority, and so unless we convince conservatives to change their minds, we'll always be in the minority.

laura k said...

You're right. But the people I'm talking about seem completely close-minded. They are not listening. They are only yelling. I don't want to engage in pointless shouting matches.

Also, I'm only speaking for myself. My activist goals are to educate, to move people to action, and to try to stem the tide of neocon legislation. You might find your energies better spent speaking to the other side. If so, I admire you for it!

laura k said...

Anon, if you are reading, I'll add something to my reply.

Whenever I sense an opening - someone whose gut reaction questions the official story, who seems open to a new idea, whose mind might contain a seed of progressive thought if only it is cultivated - I seize on it.

I try to talk to people on whatever level and about whatever issue might move them - labor, reproductive rights, peace, equality. I try to give people a take-away to think about, and if I see them again, I'll try to engage them again on the same topic.

So I'm with you there. It's the hard-core, closed-minded right-wingers I'm avoiding. Like the proverbial plague.

laura k said...

A Canadian visitor from the vermontcanada.org site visited a right-wingnut site. Claiming to be disgusted by it, she/he copied gigantic portions of their screed into this comment section. I deleted it. I just don't want that dirt here.

Canadian reader, whoever you are, please feel free to comment with your own thoughts. Anyone who wants to check out right-wing sites can do so on their own. Thanks!