So yesterday I was all rammy and argumentative over things like gun control, minimum wage, and of course marriage equality. Here on my blog, I take the time to formulate my thoughts and voice my opinions in a non-inflammatory way (usually) and I sincerely try to find common ground between differences of opinion because I have found that if you find the common ground and work outward, a lot of the straw man or paranoid arguments fall away. However, sometimes I get caught up in the moment and lose my patience. Yesterday was one of those days.
I posted this status update on my Facebook page yesterday:
So here is something truly frighting. There have been 54 murders in Philadelphia since Jan 1, 2013. As if that isn’t scary enough…45.9 of them were from gun violence. 85%.
So was I making a broad statement about gun regulation? No. Just a crime statistic. It is a big part of why I hate leaving my house, and have not managed to enjoy the city of Philadelphia in my time here. It is a scary place – which is sad, because it could be an awesome city (birthplace of our Country and all). I really wasn’t prepared for that to start an argument, but like everything else today, there are two sides and only two sides and we must defend whatever side we are on with whatever talking point sounds good at the time.
Now my friends span the political spectrum. One of my friends hates President Obama with the power of a thousand suns. I have right wing Christian friends who will never (until their church says it’s okay) budge on their position of marriage equality. I have friends who don’t give a crap one way or another and have probably hidden me from their newsfeeds because many of my posts are political. Then of course I have the friends who agree with my views.
Here is the thing though, when my friends who disagree with my views engage me, I hold them to a higher standard. Like I expect people I know to at least try and engage in reasonable discourse and finding solutions. So when they disappoint me with the standard faulty talking points, I just want to scream. Like, we know and love each other – why shouldn’t we be able to have this conversation in a real way? When a stranger on the Internet does it, I expect it and don’t let it get to me as much.
I fully admit that I always think I am right. Always. However, I am willing to change my views in order to remain so. Sometimes I pick my side based on emotion, and once I let reason take control, I may completely flip my opinion or find a new way to look at the problem being discussed or most of the time, I just adjust my position in one way or another because someone brought up a point that makes too much sense to ignore. It doesn’t mean I am wishy-washy or flip-floppy it just means I am capable of learning and adjusting my opinions accordingly. We should all try and do that. There is nothing wrong with learning. It’s okay. It’s good and it is how me move forward.
So when the conversation goes like this:
Me: Should we have stronger gun regulations?
Internet: No. It only hurts law abiding citizens.
Me: So we should just keep going like we are then? 33 people die everyday from gun violence – what can we do about that?
Internet: Well more laws won’t do anything. Criminals don’t follow laws.
Me. Okay I get that, and I don’t agree that is the real problem, we regulate everything EXCEPT guns why? What else can we do then?
Internet: I won’t let the government take my guns! It is in the Constitution!!!
Me: I never said it wasn’t in the Constitution, the government isn’t trying to take anyone’s guns they are trying to restrict the flow of unregulated guns, and trying to improve the safety of Americans by regulating who is allowed to have what because we have proven as a society that we are not responsible enough to have unlimited access to weapons. I am just trying to figure out a solution. What about requiring a license?
Internet: Criminals won’t get licences.
Me: Seriously? WHAT THE F*^$? DO YOU HAVE ANOTHER IDEA OR SOLUTION???? Can we POSSIBLY agree on SOMETHING and start from there?
Internet: … *crickets*
I want to lose my mind and reach through the computer and squeeze. I don’t care if we have to go back to the war for independence to find a common ground – everyone can pretty much agree that our country was founded by people who wanted to be free from oppression and have the opportunity for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – let’s start there if we have to and find where we lost our way as a country and society. Let’s find what we can agree on and work our way out. Let’s formulate our own opinions instead of parroting merry-go-round talking points that obviously don’t get anyone anywhere (just look at our congress right now).
Are we all so selfish that we have to be unwilling to change? Are we so set in our ways that even when we do find common ground – we ignore it because that has become some sort of bad thing to update your opinion or change your point of view? Are we really so stubborn? Why?
Sometimes I feel like a three year old, WHY WHY WHY? Why do we still deny rights to people? Why can’t we find a way to stem the tide of meaningless deaths? Why can’t we have social responsibility AND fiscal responsibility in government? Why do we stick with arguments that are obviously flawed and make no sense? WHY must we always try to force people to believe exactly the same as ourselves and if they deviate from that then they are just WRONG and no longer worth listening to? Why is individuality treated as some sort of war on conformity? Why the hell hasn’t the American people risen up and demanded better from our government? Why is it that we always allow the ‘little guy’ to suffer even when we ARE the little guy? Why don’t our politicians live under the same rules and laws I do? Why the hell do we allow people to sit in Congress until they die? Why can’t we fire them? Why can’t we really demand change? Why don’t people want to? Why if God loves everyone, do his followers hate so many? Why is religion even an issue in our Country? Why do we still allow racism and discrimination? Why is healthcare for everyone such a problem? Why don’t we pay teachers more? Why don’t firemen get benefits? Why do those who do the most for our society get paid the least? Why do entertainers make so much money? Why do we elevate Honey Boo Boo and ignore a Medal of Honor recipient? Why can’t the VA process veterans claims? Why is VA healthcare so damn medieval? Why is there even one person in this great country living in poverty? Why can’t we raise the minimum wage? Why is any child in our country hungry? Why is our education system so bent on taking actual learning out of the classrooms? Why can’t we regulate and jail big banks and those who profit off of embezzlement and lies? Why would anything be too big to fail? Why are corporations viewed as an entity with voting rights? Why don’t citizens take care of their own communities? Why can’t women breastfeed in public? Why is vagina a bad word now? Why are we still debating rape? Why do women get paid less? Why does anyone care what anyone else does when it doesn’t hurt or affect them? Why do we hate government intervention, but refuse to take action on our own?
Why oh why can’t we find some common ground and work towards real solutions? That’s all I want. We don’t need to agree 100%. Everyone can’t have it their own way though. We have to start meeting in the middle to reach solutions and that means everyone has to compromise a little bit sometimes and that is OKAY. That is community. That is family. That is society. We are a community, a country of people with different views, beliefs, dreams and goals. We should work together to make this democracy viable. We should work together to make this the greatest country on earth. We have the power. We have the Constitution. We have the voices and the money. All we need is compromise and realistic solutions. Too easy?