I have been blogging now for a couple of months, and I have shared the link with a few friends. Still, I don’t give much thought to who might be reading it. This is primarily for me, a hybrid of diary and soapbox. Like a tree falling in an empty forest, my blog entries are generally unheard and unnoticed.
But one person has emailed me about my blog. She is bothered by the “hate Bush Administration & other anti-war stuff/websites” that are linked on my site, as well as some of my more liberal leanings. I know her to be a rational and intelligent person, so her opinion is not something I brush aside lightly. We are engaged currently in an email dialogue, and I have every confidence that we will come to a middle-ground agreement on some things. On others, though, we will have to agree to disagree. And because I have respect for her, and she for me, I know we can have uncomfortable conversations with each other without jeopardizing our friendship.
And that is the point of this entry. We are all going to disagree with each other at some point. The mark of an advanced culture should be our ability to sort through differences, find common ground where possible, and respect the right of another to hold an opinion unlike your own. I suppose that sounds Pollyanna, but why is it so hard?
Turn on any talk radio station or tune into any “news” show, and the Us-Or-Them mindset is impossible to ignore. It is heartbreaking to me that we, as a country, are so completely at odds with each other. Acknowledging the good done in Iraq is heresy to my fellow Democrats. But criticizing the administration is treasonous to Republicans. It’s as if we are all told to pick a side of the stage, then handed our scripts. Right-wing nut job or Left-wing fruitcake. Pick a team. Repeat the party line. Don’t question, don’t ask, don’t think. Just repeat whatever you are told. And do so in 3 second sound bites.
Ugh. This is depressing. Whatever happened to debate as an art form?