Posted by: minnow | April 29, 2013

“Let the Words of My Mouth…”

Recently a FB friend brought this post to my attention.  A blogger, Meg Lanker, whom I have never met was accosted via a website called Crushes connected to the University of Wyoming.  The anonymous poster threatened to rape Ms Lanker with the end result being making her a Republican.  I’m certain none of the Republicans I know would want to be connected to the poster who threatened Ms Lanker and yet what they want really doesn’t matter.  When someone identifies as part of a group that individual speaks for the group, at least until others in the group object publicly to what has been said and disassociate themselves and their group from such thinking.

Potentially every group has fanatics, extremists the rest of the group wishes would go away or at least remain silent.  My husband often wonders why I choose to comment on other people’s posts or get in debates with people whose minds I have little hope of changing.  My answer is always the same–because someone else might be listening in and that person or those people need to know that the extremes don’t often speak for the whole.

When I read Meg Lanker’s post I was angry.  I also felt a little frightened for her.  No one deserves to be talked about or to in the manner she was on the Crushes site.  When I read the comments I was disappointed for other reasons as well.  First, I was unhappy that no Republicans wrote to distance themselves from the Crushes post.  I am also dismayed by some of the rhetoric coming from the other side.  I don’t think it’s because I’m hopelessly old fashioned; Lord knows I’ve let fly words I should have censored.  I just don’t think name calling and vulgarity have a place in public discourse.  Yes we can show our outrage by swearing, display our wit by name calling or push someone’s buttons doing both.   But neither does anything to advance our point.

In this new age of instant everything, where some people can type faster than I can think, it behooves us to use some of the time we save to construct well reasoned thoughts in order to advance good ideas in the best manner possible.  We need to “be the change we want to see” to borrow a philosophy from Mahatma Gandhi.  And, if that change is to promote peace and champion compassion toward the “Other” then it must begin with the words that pass through our lips.  If we are only laughing at people (putting them down or making fun of what they say), we are a long way away from winning our argument.

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