Sunday, October 20, 2013

Facebook post kept me awake

Lilies along PCT 
Although I don't generally hit people over the head with it, I think that most people who know me know that I am basically a liberal. It isn't how I was raised--my parents were Republicans (old style) and so were generations of family before them. We had some pretty good arguments when I was growing up, especially when I was in high school and chose to write a report on Eleanor Roosevelt.

However, I've also always enjoyed a good debate--not of the nasty name calling sort--but discussing the issues in some rational manner. I also often find myself playing devil's advocate or sticking up for the underdog. It's not that I want to be argumentative, but I'm generally interested in looking at exceptions, "what ifs" and others interpretations. My grandmother used to say that I should be a lawyer--I'm not sure that this was said in jest.

I think it follows, therefore, that I have friends, including "Facebook friends," that look at the world in a very different way than I do. In general, this doesn't greatly concern me, but when it does, I either ignore their comments, reply in (what I hope is) a respectful way, or occasionally, hide their offensive words or comments.

The other day I was reading an acquaintance's comments online. I don't know if he/she is a member of the Tea Party, but he/she certainly is a conservative. Although I know that quoting would be helpful to readers of this column who want to get my point more easily, I don't want to put the crude comments in any wider circulation that they have already had. Suffice it to say that these vulgar comments were about President Obama. I "hid" his comments and thought that would be the end of it.

But no, the comments kept me awake for hours that night as I mulled over how it is that so many people seem unable to engage in what we used to call "civil discourse." This seems particularly difficult when discussing a major issue, perhaps the main overt issue for the Tea Party and their ilk, "Obamacare." I just don't get it!

  • What are these people afraid of?
  • Why haven't they noticed that the rest of the civilized world provides medical care to its citizens--and fare well?
  • And finally, why are there so many who are willing to take whatever the government will give them, but want to deny it to others? 

How many people who are so adamantly protesting Obama's every action and blaming him for every imagined problem, have accepted major benefits from our system's safety net? What about crop subsidies, grazing on Federal lands, accepting Search and Rescue services, etc.  Why do these same people turn around and argue that someone else who needs medical care should be denied it?
Taxes go for firefighting

Some people say that hikers who get into trouble while on the trail should foot their own bills for evacuation. I can see their point--like many things that taxpayers pay for, there are pros and cons to the issue. There is room for legitimate argument, and probably a need for compromise on everyone's part. Obviously priorities have to be established within government just as they have to be set within households.

What I don't understand, or at least don't like, is the people who are vicious when others don't agree with them. Things and people are rarely 100% right or wrong--it's possible to learn by listening and considering what other people have to say.

Susan "backpack45" Alcorn


Part Time Faineant said...

Human differences are always going to be there. We must acknowledge them, discuss them, but never give them the power to rule our lives.

backpack45 said...

You are right, of course, and knowing is not always the same as doing! Thank you.