us and them
(ed note: this may be gone by tomorrow. I'm just thinking out loud and this is something with no beginning, middle and end. It's just run on thoughts)
I've written before about the rift in the blogosphere, wider and more evident now than when I first mentioned it. The closer war seems to get, the larger the chasm between sides grows.
It's a chasm filled with forked-tongue snakes and snapping pirahnas. Each side baits the other, each side throws its weapons and all we are doing is making it impossible to walk back and forth between us to have conversations about our differences.
That's not the only thing frustrating me, though it all comes down to politics in th end, anyhow.
There's been so much talk about hate mail this past weekend. As you know, I receive more than my share of such nonsense. Sometimes I take it to heart, sometimes I don't. Not all of it is about politics. Sometimes people just want to make judgment on my parenting skills or lifestyle or choice of husband. Sometimes they want to slice my head off for not liking a movie they loved. People are strange, they get so worked up over the smallest things. All of us, I mean. We are all guilty of that.
My hate mail reached a noisy crescendo in November, when it became apparent I was crossing over to the other side without any chance of coming back to the left. Suddenly, I was the enemy. I was a traitor. I deserved nothing less than a bloody, painful death. I got over that kind of arrogance and threatening hate pretty quick. I started going right to the delete button when the headers read "die motherfucker, die"
What I didn't get over so easily was the friends who abandoned me when my political leanings were swayed by life events. Not so much the friends who delinked me or stopped emailing, but the so-called friends who wondered aloud why I changed. They wanted to know who changed my mind. Who convinced me to lean the other way. Who got their grubby little hands on me and brainwashed me into becoming a member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.
In other words, they were implying that I did not have the capability to make this decision on my own, that I was simply some kind of sheep following the wrong flock. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
I didn't even answer those mails because I was so insulted, so hurt that people I admired and thought well of apparently did not think that much of me.
Well, I'm over that now as well. But I'm still frustrated.
I see animosity rising over subjects that have nothing to do with war. I see the wrath and baiting turned up a notch, the anger and spitting so evident with every word some people write. It's as if they are looking for a fight, looking for someone who will argue with them and call them names so they can claim controversy plagues them.
I try not to link to other bloggers when I am making a general point. Why link to one specific person who is on the opposite side of my political spectrum when I am talking about the anti-war movement in general? I don't like to point fingers when I know I can have that finger pointed right back at me. I don't know what it is, I just don't like singling out one particular person in order to make a point about many. Why invite controversy when I have enough to go around as it is? Why make one person defend himself or herself when it really isn't a personal issue?
There are plenty of left-leaning blogs I link to. I like those people. Yes, people. They may not think like me, they may not shout the same slogans or vote the same row and maybe they call me a warmonger and I call them smelly hippies, but there is so much more to one person than their politics.
I don't even know where I'm going with this or if I'm going anywhere at all. I just hate the hate. I am guilty of it myself, I know this. Does it make it any better that my hate/animosity/disbelief is pointed at a larger group rather than a singular person with a personal website? I don't know. I just know that some days I don't like what the impending war is doing to us. And some nights I lay awake wondering if I hurt someone's feelings with my words.
I would love to say It's just politics, let's get over it already, but that's not easy. Because politics has become life. Our beliefs and our views on the way we think things should be done in Iraq have become what we are. It's become what the entire world is about right now. Are you anti-war or pro-action? That is the defining terms by which we are viewing almost every person in the world now.
There are other things that define me, other things we could talk about without wanting to rip each other's heads off, but we don't because this other thing is too large. It hangs over us like death star, leaving a huge shadow over our world.
I'm right. You're right. In our minds we are all right. It just depends on which side of the chasm you are standing what your opposition looks like. We'll continue to shout our slogans at each other and send hate mail and write lengthy essays to try to prove our points. They're just words, but words can sever friendships. Words can cause or stop a war. And the right words can make us see that we are more than our political ideals.
Haven't you heard it's a battle of words
the poster bearer cried