Am I Right, Left or Me?

I remember growing up hearing that there are three (3) topics you should never talk about in a group setting:

  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Taxes

These taboo topics have broadened into more subsets of topics, more than I care to list. For the younger generations (that may not have heard this list before), this advice is shared to help us avoid public disagreements or arguments in a social setting. I am guessing that those who shared this valuable insight are those that brought up these subjects in social settings and lived to tell the tale.

I don’t believe you can Google search what is now a lengthy list of topics to avoid in conversation (but then again, maybe you can, Google has everything). One of the ways to test the waters to find out for sure is; dare to share your opinion on anything and see what happens. By reason of witnessing debates in the media, we already have an idea of what will cause a lot of problems and heartache. These are topics that people are passionate about and they stir up a lot of emotion. Since many of us don’t want to add more friction to the already angry world, we avoid bringing them up altogether. Or at least we try to. The key is to know your audience.

Some comments can be so small and innocent, and yet others examine them in such a way that it changes everything. The entire comment is blown out of proportion and made to be much larger than what we ever intended or imagined it to be.

Making a Mountain Out of a Molehill

We’ve heard the term. Is this what we are doing now with everything? There doesn’t seem to be a stopping point, and it feels like we are just spiraling out of control. Most anything communicated is now looked at through a microscope and dissected.

Have we forgotten about:

  • Thoughtful debates
  • Benefit of the doubt
  • Agreeing to disagree
  • Grace
  • Forgiveness

Examples that hopefully won’t draw too much anger… but these are things that many of us have experienced or seen.

Example 1:

I am in a few Facebook gaming groups and I have noticed that sometimes a member will refer to a character as a “he” or a  “she”. Honestly, there are some characters that are animals, and you can’t really tell what they are. I have seen backlash over a member using the word “he” or “she” when asking a game question. I have seen other members angrily attack them by saying that they should be using a non-binary word as a gender description. To me, this seems like something so small and irrelevant to argue about. But yet, it ensues. It is literally crazy how others jump in on a post and begin to attack and harass a person that is only asking a simple question to help them further their game. No ill will intended. Why are we all so angry?

Example 2:

I am part of a private group of ladies who have made the decision to grow out their natural gray hair. If someone chooses to share a picture and uses a filter, some in the group will get angry with them and lash out in comments. Rather than give loving supportive words, they will focus on the filter and express their anger. Why do we care if someone uses a filter if it makes them feel prettier or less insecure? Why are we so judgmental? This is something that is not exclusive to just this group. I have seen anger over filtered pictures on several social media outlets. Why do we care so deeply on something so small that has no effect on us personally?

I feel we must be so careful with what we say, how we say it, what we do and whom we might offend. Many of us are either walking on eggshells in order not to broach a subject that might cause controversy, or we just stuff a sock in our mouth and sit quiet.

Why are so many afraid to speak now?

What has caused such divisiveness?

Has the world really gone this cold?

Do we have to walk an exceptionally fine line now in order not to offend anyone?

Even when our intention is not to offend, we offend. In writing this post, it might cause someone to be offended. The purpose of my blog is to express my thoughts, my experiences, and my concerns. This is MY voice, and it’s not intended to cause harm, but to create thoughtful consideration.

We have changed so much as a society that we cannot even openly speak about a lot of things without inflaming or enraging others. I hope we can find our way back to a more civilized way of communicating with each other. It is obvious to me that even with all our advancements over the last 50-100 years, we still have a lot of work to do.

What does the name of this post, Right, Left or Me have to do with any of this?

Social Media has blown up the world of communication. It has created a convenient veil of anonymity to those who take license to provoke others. People lash-out in this world in such a way that they would never do so face-to-face. It has become a divisive world of labels and categories. Many people identify half of the population that doesn’t suit them with labels and terms like:

  • The Dems
  • The Right
  • The Left
  • The Blue
  • The Red
  • The Trumpers
  • The Never Trumpers
  • The Liberals
  • The Conservatives
  • Socialist
  • Communists
  • Radicals

While this is going on, about 80-90% of the population is wondering why. This is my estimate so don’t quote me as I can’t give you statistical data to something that is just a rational number I pulled out of my thoughts. I do however believe that more people justify to the center – much more so than others may think.

Definition of Ruler:

1. Straight strip marked at regular intervals to draw straight lines or measure distance between items.

2. One that rules. To be in control of or dominion over an area or people.

Ruler – A way to measure

We are ALL somewhere on the ruler. Out of the entire U.S. population we have a small percentage that will reside on either end. The MAJORITY on the ruler (which is where the BULK is) is in the middle area. Many are remarkably similar but may lean a little more one way or the other.

If most of us are in the middle or lean just a little to the left or right, what is fueling so much anger and hostility? Why are we putting half the population all the way to the left or right as if they are our enemy? We are all on this ruler together – trying to make a life for our families and ourselves. We all want to feel safe, and we want our children to have a future where they can prosper. Right?

Just as Rodney King said back on May 1, 1992, “People, I just want to say, can’t we all get along? Can’t we all get along?

This came from a man who was severely beaten by 4 Simi Valley police officers. These officers on trial were acquitted, which caused anger and outrage from the public. Why is his quote so popular? Why do most of us know who said this without having to look it up? Because the person who had the right to be most outraged, Rodney King, stepped forward and wanted to calm the people. That is what he wanted most. Such an unselfish act. What Rodney King wanted back in 1992 is what many of us are calling for in 2022. 30 years later and many ask, “Can’t we all just get along?”

When I looked up the definition for ruler, I realized it of course it has two meanings. The ruler I spoke about above is about us. How we are all scattered along this ruler of life. We are unique, and have our own desires, hopes and dreams. We have different opinions, and they are formed in part by how we were raised, what we have been through, what we have learned and what our hope is for the future.

Ruler – People we put in power to watch over and advocate for us (…at least for the U.S.A.)

Are the individuals we placed in powerful positions to govern us doing what is best for the majority of the population? Or are they bickering back and forth just for political posturing? Are they creating or fueling divisiveness? Can’t they see that taking sides on opposite ends of the ruler is ignoring the masses in the middle?

This is what we hired them to do for us:

The Preamble

We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

We need to fix this. I don’t know how, and I wish I had a solution. We need to get things back on track before it is too late. My hope is that something brings us all back together again. At least back to a normal level of civility. The anger, rage and fear is felt on all sides. Left, right or middle, we are all feeling it.

Most all of us are tired and just want our country back. The version where labels and terms don’t define us and divide even our families and friends. What we know it can be if we can dial it back and all work together.

Right, Left or Me – Let’s talk about Me

I consider myself an independent. I am not left or right. I am more in the middle. I do not appreciate when someone refers to me in a specific group because I don’t fall into a particular category.

My last post was about my personal experience concerning an unexpected pregnancy back in 1997. I wrote about the thought process I experienced on what I should do, and what would be best for my family and me. It was not an easy decision. I chose to keep my pregnancy and my child is now 24. The comments on my post were both of support and anger. In reading some of the comments – I wondered if whether they actually read my post at all and formulated their opinion based only on the post title. Don’t get me wrong; I feel everyone has a right to his or her beliefs, as that is what we can take ownership of. However I was taken aback by some of the hateful backlash about my post, as well as what was directed towards others in the comment section. The back-and-forth was so heated that I literally got a message from Facebook! There are subjects out there where I can understand both sides. I don’t necessarily want to take one side or the other. But on the subject of abortion I believe I had a very thoughtful personal experience to convey. My own circumstances and experience with this very personal and consequential decision was effectively MY choice – no one else’s.  I did not have the federal government, state government – or anyone else for that matter in my business and controlling my body or my decision.  I had complete body autonomy, and I don’t believe anyone would want to give up that right – right?  What makes sense to one person does not make sense to another. By the one hundred or so comments on my post – this was painfully apparent.

It would be interesting to fully examine what people regard is freedom.  After all, freedom is what our country was founded on.  However I wonder how many of us truly feel free with what fuels the divisiveness in this country.  The Media and Social Media are both a blessing and a curse. The ability to tear people down has become a norm. We may have freedom of speech – but at what cost? How did we get to a point where words don’t matter? I may get backlash on even saying this but at a certain point, you just have to say what you need to say and let the chips fall where they may. Haha, maybe that “certain point” is also part of the problem!

Ultimately my hope and prayer is that the masses in the middle will be recognized for the majority that they are. Dial it back to a place of basic civility and respect for people that just want to live their own beautiful and unique lives.

Let’s do this!

%d bloggers like this: