Saturday, February 4, 2017

Thinking Out Loud

(Please note that I am about to abuse the internet by trying to add my opinion to the glut of noise that is already out there. For those of you that are fatigued with all of the back and forth, please click away now! I sometimes just have to write to help me sort though my thoughts. You certainly need not read.)

I don't know what to think right now, but I know I'm overwhelmed by everything that's going on. I can't speak in more than general terms because I don't know anything more than generally speaking. I hear things that could be wildly out of place. I'm very concerned by what I hear and the reactions that are being reported. It is not "you" that is doing something inconceivable and out of proportion. Neither is it "them". It is us. Every single one of us.

As much as I sort of choose a bit of purposeful ignorance (not saying it's right, it's just been my preference to avoid the negativity and constant accusations getting hurled around), I can't do that anymore. There is too much going on and it is too important. I'm not sure how to find real information in a world that is flooded with information, but also with misinformation and leading information, but I'm going to have to start to make the attempt. It would be easy if all I wanted was to jump in one of the echo chambers. There are several to choose from, and I could start swimming around in all of the places linking back to one another and all agreeing together, but all presenting only one perspective: That "we" are clearly right, and "they" are clearly wrong. "We" see the truth, and "they" are blind, have terrible intentions, weren't raised right as a child, and likely smell funky.

I admit, I'm a little dizzy from some of the articles I read yesterday. I haven't even really started to figure out where to go for information, these were just linked articles that I read. I don't even know how to describe it. Each one talks with such conviction about how right "we" are and how blatantly wrong "they" are, but each one is saying so much the same thing that I can't tell which "side" anyone is on! Eventually someone will say something that tells me what they are trying to argue for, but they don't seem to realize how much they sound like the other side. Most people seem to think that it is obvious where the differences are, but I can't tell sometimes. Not anymore. It used to be easy, but it's different now.

Is this just me? Am I the only one who has read an article decrying those terrible protestors that are marching, and what are they whining about, and besides, if they really had something important to say, then maybe they wouldn't be so rude and crass and just generally awful people? Then I have to read further to see if they are talking about the women's marches or the pro-life march. Because one person will say all that about the women's marches, then go to the pro-life march. Or vice versa.

It is not "them", y'all. It is us.

To use the marches as an example, let's take the women's marches. I certainly don't agree with everything they were marching for, and some of what was being defended (abortion) was something that I am very much against. Nor do I condone some of the more crass methods that were used to spread the message. (You know what I'm talking about.) However, I think that there was something very important going on there, and I am grateful to those that went, those that voiced their concern in a tangible way, and I am especially grateful to those that went as pro-lifers, the ones that spoke out for me when I was too afraid or too confused or too busy to go myself. To go does not mean that everything that everyone is doing is right, but that it is still important.

Now, let's take the pro-life march. I admit that I have never been, but I am so grateful for those that go. Those that know that there may not be much coverage of it, but who stand up anyway. There are those that go that defend life in ways that I find abhorrent and not useful to the cause. (Graphic pictures, I'm looking at you.) Some are going to shame and blame the women that have committed abortion. How is that going to help anyone? But that doesn't mean that the marchers are all wrong. Sometimes people stand up for the right thing in wrong ways, ways that may make them culpable, but still cannot take away from the rightness of their cause, even if they make it harder to see.

I know that many people agree strongly with one march and strongly disagree with the other. That doesn't really bother me. I can see how that would be. I object to those that think that one march should not exist and that the other is a good and noble thing. It seems to me that if marching is a way to stand up for what we think, then we should not be bothered if others also stand up for what they think, whether we agree or not.

You know what bothers me the most right now? How much I let myself get caught up in reactions.  I am the problem. More than us, it is me. I don't fully know what's going on, but I get carried away by things that are said that fit snugly into my own thought processes and patterns. While, like everyone else, I am horrified by some of the things that are going on all over the place, I am also fascinated. Maybe that's wrong of me, but I can't quite help it. It is crazy to me to realize people that I used to never agree with that I agree with more and more, and people that I always agreed with that I agree with less and less. Sometimes it is more who I agree with on one level, but are completely at odds with how the problem needs to be solved. Again, it is at least fascinating.

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