Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Darkness Rising: Why respectful debate is more important than ever

Like I've written in previous posts, for the most part this blog is dormant, though please follow the link on the right to check out the Facebook page, which has been very active recently...

However, this post grew out of some comments on a link that grew into a Facebook post of its own, and which I think is worth posting here:

It's amusing to me... Only in this weird year, after these horrible presidential campaigns, could I ever be labeled as a member of the "far left"... :) And if you knew much about my political views in the 1980s and early 1990s, I am pretty much a conservative compared to those days, by the standards in those days... But while I've moved to the middle, even past what used to be considered the center into what used to be the liberal right, the political climate in this country has changed so much that Nixon would be labeled a communist these days by the descendants of his own conservative movement... That being said, my political posts, here and elsewhere, are a lot less about advocating for one party over another, or even broader, more "left" and "right" ideologies. Really, it is more about this: There are certain ways "dark" instincts and power works that is pretty universal, and it adapts to every political and economic system. Most people don't recognize it, but they fear it, and they usually aim their fears at straw men and red herrings laid out for them by the folks gaining advantage from that darkness (whether they even recognize what it is or not). There are many moral, philosophical and religious terms used for this darkness, and I am trying to avoid them, to strip it down to the basics (and darkness is a bit of a moral judgment, wild might be better?)... When fear and resentment and dissatisfaction with life rises to the top in the masses' day to day lives, this wildness comes to the front and, generally, very bad things start happening. In the end, us normal citizens have very little idea about who the good guys and the bad guys are in this battle, and we do our best, which is hard these days with the disintegrating media and laughable standards of journalism that we encounter, to pick the candidates and causes that we hope will battle this dark, wild force. And if not to actively battle it, to at least slow its rise to dominance. I've picked my side, the causes and candidates I support, based on the best, though always flawed, information I have available. Others pick the other side, feeling those better battle the darkness. Disagreement and healthy debate is good and, I will always feel, are enemies of this darkness. However, the mood and the climate is changing in the western world, and the space that used to be filled, for the most part, with healthy debate is now filled with anger and fear, ignorance and blatant lies, which is only making the enemies of freedom stronger, which won't benefit any of us, regardless of who we voted for a few weeks back. So let's keep the conversations calm, let's, the average people just trying to make sense of everything, respect each other, even if we disagree... Let's keep our minds open to new ideas, new information, and let's reject lies and fake news, even when it appears to support our "side." In social media, more than anywhere, this is so important, because too many of our feeds are designed by the sites to only provide us with ONLY the opinions and "facts" that we support, and sometimes, unfortunately, depressingly, even, the comment threads are the only place where we can actually learn new the perspectives and gain the information we need to make the decisions we need to make to keep our country free and great. Finally, further food for thought on this matter: