I’m trying to make a New Years resolution regarding Facebook and handling heated Facebook threads about controversial topics. trouble is, I’m not sure what resolution I should make, Whether it be to try harder to avoid them, or go out of my way to involve myself more in them. My dilemma comes from the fact that I would make a terrible politician. I would lose every debate. I imagine I’d be labeled as a flip-flopper, or as one who lacks convictions. The reason is that in every discussion eventually appear to defend every possible point of view, which has a bizarre effect.
The most recent example of this happened after a friend posted this interesting take on the recent A&E “Duck Dynasty” scandal. Naturally it sparked some interesting discussion, with people on both sides making assumptions that just seemed silly. Those on the one side immediately labeled the perpetrator of the offense toward gays as a hateful bigot and a coward. While I conceded some of their points, I had to run to the defense of my Christian friends. I truly believe that everyone should be allowed to live their religion and speak their minds. furthermore, I believe that, even if someone believes homosexuality is a sin, it doesn’t mean they are hateful or malicious in their intent. Not only was I defending Phil Robertson, but I also defended a few other Christians in the thread whose comments came off a little harsher than I believe they intended.
Up to that point in the discussion, my goal was to help all the participants understand that most Christians really aren’t being hateful in standing up for their beliefs. And while the beliefs themselves do alienate to a degree, I don’t think they are trying to make others feel that way.
That’s when the conversation took a turn, and I felt a few people on the Christian side went too far. At that point, I switched sides, and became the “defense” for the folks condemning the Christian beliefs that oppressed gay rights. While defending the one side, I couldn’t help but admit that some of the responses did go a bit too far. I acknowledged that, while I do believe most Christians mean well, religious zealots are still often ignorant of homosexuals’ issues. I added that I believed evidence showed that religions would eventually become more sympathetic to gay rights, with the most prominent example of change coming with Utah’s recent allowance of gay marriage (of course it turns out, not surprisingly, there has been push-back on that ruling. I don’t think it’s going to get overturned… but maybe I’ll talk about that in another blog). essentially my focus switched from defending religious beliefs to advocating gay rights. And while I hopefully gained a few points back with my gay friends and other advocates, I couldn’t help but feel that the response from the other side had quickly grown chilly. I then awkwardly stepped out of the discussion.
Such as been many a conversation for me. I’ve been told that I just like to argue for argument’s sake. That is certainly true in some cases, but when the conversations are relevant, my goals aren’t usually to irritate people. I really do hope that people have positive takeaways from my flip-flopper views. But generally irritation is the response I get. By the end of the discussion, both sides find me annoying at best, and dangerous at worst. as I said at the beginning, people probably view me as a fence sitter, but that is not my intent.
I genuinely believe that in most arguments between two viewpoints, both sides have valid ideas. But today things are so polarized that anyone who disagrees is automatically demonized. My goal is usually to have a positive influence on the discussion, and hopefully to create understanding. As a result, I’ve been hit with mud slung from both sides of arguments about gun control, food stamps, Obamacare, etc. By the end of the discussion it feels like both mobs have suddenly agreed to put their disagreements on hold so they can first dispatch me. Often I feel the result of the conversation is me bowing out sheepishly because everyone seems irritated with me.
So this is why I have this dilemma. Honestly, I’m not sure what I should resolve to do. My thoughts on any blog, Facebook threat, personal conversation, etc. are always well intended, but more often than not, fail to achieve even a slight bit of empathy between sides. What do you think? Is it a waste of time posting my thoughts on Facebook? (’cause, let’s be honest, it is just Facebook, after all. Has anything truly consequential come from a Facebook thread on a friend’s timeline?) Or, should I keep throwing myself into the ring, hoping for understanding, but likely only receiving frustrated sighs from both parties?
I’d be interested to have your thoughts. Yes. You. Mr/Mrs. Bloggerperson. Random person who stumbled over to this page. What are your thoughts? Am I right? Wrong? Stupid? Ugly? Scatterbrained? (Yes to that one for sure). I’m gonna have to think about this for a while longer… What the heck… I’ve never done a poll before… lets see if anyone responds!