Thursday, October 18, 2012

Opinions, Having and Sharing

Yesterday, on the Facebook, someone I know (who happens to be a Republican) posted something that I just couldn't not comment on. Now, I am usually not one to comment on things that rile me on the internet (possibly because it happens too often), but this one had specifically to do with women in the media and I just could NOT sit by and not comment.  My comment, I thought, was benign enough but, as these things usually do, it spiraled into something so frustrating that I have written 100 unpublished comments trying to express myself. None of them do justice to the way I feel or to the larger discussion that really needs to be had, but they felt good to write, even though they went unpublished.

After stating my views in response to this person's post, they came back with that, while they respect my opinion, they would rather hear from me in a "more positive and blissful manner" from now on. xoxo.

And here's where my tiny brain just simply couldn't handle it any more.

Because what I wanted to say, hyper-emotionally and in extreme frustration, is that freedom of speech means that not only do you get to express your (bullshit, borderline offensive) position on the internet but that I also can comment on how I feel, even if that feeling is opposite from yours. You put it on the internet, on a public forum, so please don't come at me about commenting on it in a way that you didn't like. Expressing opinions (in an articulate manner) is a good thing. Dissonance is a good thing. Debate is a good thing. We don't have to agree on everything. We don't even have to agree on most things. We just have to accept that there is more than one opinion out there and that, even if they make us uncomfortable to hear, they are worth listening to and they are worth stating. Saying you respect my opinion and then limiting the kinds of opinions I'm allowed to express to you is pretty condescending and the opposite of the point of talking about things.

There are reasons that I don't respond to things on Facebook, there are reasons that I don't talk about politics on the internet, and I was reminded of these yesterday. I wish that these reasons didn't exist, I wish that in all of my relationships, whether they be with family, friends, or acquaintances, expressing differing opinions weren't a taboo and instead were an inspiration for discussion. I truly believe that if more people were open to really having a discussion about where opinions and beliefs differ, we'd find that we don't actually disagree as much as we think we do. This is my hope for the future. But for now, I'll just continue to write but not publish comments on the internet and save my debating for face-to-face conversations, even if what I have to say isn't pretty.

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