Andrea T Edwards

Have a discussion, disagree, but let’s be kind to each other

A while ago I published a blog – Chaos is driving us apart, our collective humanity must bring us back together. My word did that little baby open me up to attack. I can tell you it’s hard putting yourself out there with your own points of view and it can be very challenging getting attacked by people you’ve never met and will never meet.
But you own that as a blogger, or why would you do it?
When you blog, you hope that maybe, just maybe, you can change a mind somewhere along the way, or offer an alternative idea to make people think differently. It certainly doesn’t always happen, but why not give it a try? You’re not saying hey I’m right, you’re just saying maybe we can think about things in a different way and have a discussion?
As is vastly apparent to anyone paying attention right now, the world is crazy – scarily crazy – so if I can help be one of the voices working stop the madness, I’ll take the abuse of strangers any day. Because I don’t want my boys fighting in a war I don’t believe in. I don’t want anyone fighting wars anymore.
Of course, that makes me a liberal nut case in this day and age. What a horrible thing to be! In my mind, a liberal nut case is a person who always expects or hopes for the best of humanity, and who believes we can overcome our current crisis’ and move forward together globally. If that’s the worst criticism cast my way, I say yes, I’m a Liberal Nut Case and proud of it!
Anyhoo, I watched a friend get attacked this week for offering an alternative point of view to something topical. I disagreed and said why – respectfully – as did many others in our community. But then I noticed people really insulting her and calling her names.
Hang on a minute. This is a good person. Why do you need to be like that? Isn’t there enough horrible stuff going on in the world? Don’t you see that by being horrible to her you’re adding to the greater horribleness in the world?
So it inspired me to share this Ted Talk – I grew up in the Westboro Baptist Church. Here’s why I left:
Please watch this TED Talk – please.
Like many people I know, I am horrified by the doctrine and ignorance of the Westboro Baptist Church, however, I do understand the indoctrination a person experiences when born into religious institutions, as well as how hard it is to step away from that completely. But this isn’t about my journey out of the Catholic Church.
By sharing this talk, I hope everyone can hear what it was that helped Megan change her mind and leave the church. It all came down to how people reached out to her on Twitter, gently speaking to her and listening to her. They communicated with respect, offering other perspectives, and when she was ready, she heard them.
These people on Twitter opened a door for Megan, a door she stepped through when she was ready. So when I look at the way many attack each other on social media, well it’s obvious, as soon as angry voices rise, the doors are all slammed shut. We all have to learn from Megan’s experience.
Obviously, it wasn’t an overnight change of heart for Megan, it happened over a period of time and eventually, she took the very brave decision to step away and leave everything she knew, including her family. Very tough. Very inspiring.
There is so much we can learn from Megan’s TED Talk, as well as Monica Lewinsky: The price of shame. But we can’t learn from each other when we are horrible to each other. No one is listening then. Why would you?
Disagree, offer alternative viewpoints, join in a heated discussion, but let’s not be assholes to each other huh? It makes us no better than all of the monsters in the world spewing hatred right now. Not only that, it makes you feel awful inside anyway.
I just reckon we can all be better than that. Are you with me? And if you’re not, tell me why, respectfully, so we can heareach other.
Yours, without the bollocks
Thank you for reading my ramblings. My brain and heart are a work in progress, always. I’d love a comment if it stirred any thoughts or feelings and of course, please feel free to share it with anyone you know who might be interested or entertained. I sure do appreciate it when you do. If you want to connect, I’m on Twitter here, Google+ here, Instagram here, and Facebook too. I share loads of stuff, not just my own xxxxx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.