Actually, the full title of this blog post is “Fox News is Right (or I’m not wrong and neither are you). Sorry if I kinda duped my right-wing readers into reading this post, but I think you’ll find it worth it.
We all bring our own experiences, knowledge and emotions to any discussion (because that’s what it should be, a discussion. Not a shouting match) on a particular issue. We all have our own thoughts on a topic and we can both be right without trying to talk louder than the opposition.
Last week for about 5 days, and for reasons that still escape me, I switched the audience of my Facebook posts to “Me only” rather than “Public.” Yesterday I fixed this issue (and yes, I use the word “fixed” because the world needs to know my how I feel about everything), then I went back over those posts from my self-imposed exile. A solid half of them were just reactionary, emotions I felt upon reading an article and the subsequent sharing of that post, article or meme. Ultimately, I was reminded that in this culture of instant gratification by way of reacting to a Facebook post or a Twitter post or whatever, we often are simply satisfying the seemingly pertinent and necessary urge we feel to share our personal beliefs with the rest of the world. But really, sharing some article pertaining to income inequality or Bernie Sanders or gun control only goes to, at best, fuel that self-gratification. At worst, it only goes to anger and alienate some of the people that are otherwise our “Friends” or “Followers” That is, if those “Friends” and “Followers” bother to read the article or register the meme at all.
In the end, my right-wing, pro-gun, pro-life, pro-Bible “friends” are most likely scrolling right past the article I share arguing the merits of the opposition. And I can only speculate based on my own reaction to the same type of articles written in favor of the opposition, but I think most of them are ignoring these articles because often the author commits the cardinal sin of editorial writing of taking an aggressive or condescending tone. The minute a half-way educated reader feels they are being talked down to, they scroll on down the page. If they took the trouble of beginning the article at all, that is.
I’ll give you an example. I read a couple of Daily Kos articles about Fox News and the way they twist and turn and serve up news that I think is flat-out false and unsubstantiated but other people, again some of them my friends, take as gospel. By posting or sharing those articles, I am doing nothing more than satisfying my desire for gratification. And the often competitive nature of the article pretty much ensures that my friends who come down on the other side of the issue in question will just scroll past it and keep thinking how they think. Whether its abortion or gun control or whatever, everyone brings to the issue their experiences. A person who has known only responsible gun ownership in their lives comes at the issue from a very different place from the person who has had a shooting death in their family or friends or lives in a place permeated by gun violence. The person who knows and/loves someone who faced an unwanted pregnancy, or had one themselves, but stuck it out to bring a baby into this world who gives them unparalleled joy and satisfaction through parenting has a very different opinion from the person who comes at the issue of abortion with a different perception of what defines the concept of human life. Based on both people’s knowledge, emotions and experience, they are both right. So, really, what’s the point?
I suppose the case could be made that this a cynical and fatalistic approach to the sharing of information and ideas, but consider that there are ways (TEDtalks for example) that ideas and concepts can be shared without the shouting match. Even more idealistically, I will not abandon the idea that there is enough civility and compassion left in the world that we can’t come to an agreement or at least agree to disagree on a subject and walk away hand in hand. Or at least smiling a non-self-important smile.
Michael Douglas said in The American President that many people will get up and scream in favor of the very things you have spent a lifetime opposing. As it happens, at the core level, we both have a point.
Unless you are so closed-minded and so certain of your own veracity that you are of the Westboro Baptist Church ilk. In that case, please just go back to the petri dish of hate that spawned you.
The documentation of my time in exile taught me that there is really no point and, more than that, it’s a bad thing for me to put myself out there in such a sanctimonious way as it serves no purpose and does little good. There’s enough negativity and animosity out there that I don’t need to put more bad blood on the table just so I can feel important.
Or, as the comedian Greg Proops once mused, volume doesn’t insure quality. It doesn’t insure virtue either.