I’m one of those “students” who crammed four years of college education into five. I have a bachelor’s degree in Speech. That’s it. And I literally flunked out of two other departments (Math and Physics) before Dr. Scheid took pity on me and graciously permitted me to transfer into his Speech department when I probably didn’t deserve it.
It’s not as though I don’t value education. I do. It’s just that for me, the process is too painful and lacks any tangible reward beyond the piece of paper that you get to hang on your wall after you’ve suffered the run through the gauntlet of academic rigor. It just ain’t worth the trouble. At least, not to me.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t admire smart people with advanced degrees and who make their ways through the world using the brains and education to advance and support themselves and their loved ones. On the contrary, I wish I had the discipline to make it through the rigors of academia as so very many of my colleagues in and out of uniform have done. I particularly admire and respect all the Ph.D.’s and other researchers with whom I work here at the Research Center. But for better or for worse, I lack their academic discipline and ambition.
Having said all that, I’m not stupid. I may have been born at night, but tweren’t last night. I pay attention. I read a little now and again. I’m not a low-information voter nor do I center my world in the ongoing real-life drama that government has become. I can sift through the BS, the fake news, the outright lies and only occasionally be fooled by something that rings unusually true. I check sources often, though not always.
Yet here on this blog from time to time, I spout off opinion as if I know what the hell I’m talking about.
Clearly I do not.
I have never been as completely wrong about anything as I have been in reading the tea leaves of this past election cycle and the subsequent fallout. I wrongly presumed that reason would prevail. I wrongly presumed that the Nation would come to its collective senses and make this a more routine election cycle rather than the wholly embarrassing spectacle that it’s become.
I was not just a little bit wrong. I was horrifically wrong.
I watch the headlines flash across my Facebook page and the words only become more extreme and mean spirited by the minute. No longer is it easy to find genuinely reasoned dialogue among disagreeing parties. No longer is it easy to find a post regarding politics that avoids personal attacks and profanity. (Don’t get me wrong. I swear like a sailor — and that probably does a disservice to sailors everywhere. And I love Nicki’s Blog which is hilariously profane and fun. I wish I could swear like her, but she’s had some advanced training or some such shit.)
Bottom line here, about ten poorly-constructed paragraphs too late: I’m done with it all. I’m done talking about it, I’m done posting about it, and I’m pretty much done reading it. One day I share a meme that makes me laugh and the next thing I know, people whose opinions I often respect but with whom I occasionally disagree immediately trade profane insults. No disagreement, no ramping up the passion, no escalation of the language. Right to the profane personal attacks.
What the fuck is wrong with people? Have you never heard of civil discourse? Seriously. Your opinion is not the only one out there and, news flash, there are people who don’t think like you do. That doesn’t immediately make them WRONG. Maybe they are and maybe they’re not. Without some kind of discourse based on facts and ideas, how can you be sure that your opinion is 100% correct? How do you know for certain that you’ve drawn the only correct conclusion? And if you are sure that your opinion is 100% correct, chances are you’re wrong. (In my experience, the chance of me being wrong is directly proportional to the degree to which I think I’m right.)
Disagreements do not mean that the person with the opposing opinion has no worth. If you behave like that, it diminishes your opinion.
So anyway, I’m done with memes, reposting what I believe to be enlightening articles and engaging in fruitless arguments potentially pointing the way to a differing point of view. It’s too much and it’s become too mean spirited. I refuse to arbitrate when people on my page go down that road. I guess I’m neither smart enough nor savvy enough to make a reasoned argument that will provide a different perspective. You wanna live in your bubble, that’s fine. I’m probably not going to visit.
I’ll leave the political “discourse” to the real intellectuals.