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today's lesson (mine)

Sometimes, we perceive someone to be our enemy by virtue of their ideology or politics. We condition ourselves to believe that we should hate our enemies, and that they hate us in return.

How many of us have used our weblog to attack a person we don't really know based on his or her ideals? I sure have. Many times.

What if that person you attacked, that person you despised to the point of rage extended an offer of friendship? What if you accepted that offer and found out that person was honest, sincere and smart and was capable of having a mature, even-handed discussion about your differences? And what if you found out you also had some things in common?

Would you be turning your back on those who stand with you on your political and ideological lines by becoming friendly with this person?

Let's just say I received a great lesson in humility today. And I made a friend.

And we'll leave it at that.

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» A lesson... from Sheila Astray's Redheaded Ramblings
from Michele to me. I would say, that posts like this are ... essentially ... why I blog. It's not about consolidating my rigidity - or tuning out the world - but it's about learning from one another. It's about... [Read More]

» Making friends is not so overrated as you might think from The People's Republic of Seabrook
Today's lesson Sometimes, we perceive someone to be our enemy by virtue of their ideology or politics. We condition ourselves to believe that we should hate our enemies, and that they hate us in return. How many of us have used our weblog to attack a p... [Read More]

Comments

It happens to the best of us. Lessons in humility are easily learned by those who are willing to watch and listen. As for turning your back on those who stand with you on your views...that would have to depend on to what extreme your new friend's ideals were. Obviously we're not talking Latuff.

I guess we won't be seeing any more posts about Tedd Rall.

Darn.

Oh, as IF, Lair.

The word "smart" should have clued you in that it's not him.

Your lesson of the day is one I have to re-learn from time to time. It's certainly true that for the vast majority of people, the more you know about them, the harder it is to dislike them. Unfortunately positive lessons such as this don't sear into my unconscious like the negative ones tend to. Thanks for reminding me.

Michelle: Actually, the "capable of having a mature, even-handed discussion" part would also eliminate Rall from consideration.

Glad you made a new friend, Michelle, but the Ted Rall stuff was the best! ;)

Who will we regularly bitchslap now?

WG, LI-

That's exactly why I come here, Michele.

I have often wondered over the amount of hate in Bloggerville. Why do we hate people just because their views are different than ours? I know that IRL, I am friends with people that I have no clue what their political persuasions are, or how they feel about other key issues... And it makes it interesting when we do find out we're on opposite ends of the spectrum. Variety is the spice of life and I fear that this medium doesn't support that theory so well. I'm glad that you were able to get humble and make a new friend. That's a wonderful thing.

Tell me it's not Latuffe.

DO you intend to divulge this secret soon? Because quite frankly im dying of curiousity! Come on Michelle, dont do this to us!

It's a GOOD THING to read GOOD NEWS like this on these blogs; sometimes it seems like it's all rants! CONGRATS! We all can use more friends.

Bravo. Ideas are what we think, not who we are. Even now and then, if we can get past that, we discover that there are some damn fine people out there who don't happen to think quite like we do.

You know...if everyone thought like I do, I think I'd be bored silly.

I think it's the anonymity of the blogosphere that allows people (myself included at times) to behave like a-holes toward people when they would do no such thing in real life.

Jack beat me to the punch and said exactly what I wanted to say. To be surrounded by only those who agree with you - boring ... where's the possibility then for growth, for opening your mind?

Thanks so much for expressing this, Michele.

Oh that is sooo sweet. Chris Anderson or some other NYC IMC Editor/loser/malcontent and Mama Michelle, kiss and make up.

L-o-v-e-l-y (*gag*)

Michelle, you're sweet, and this despite of how misguided you are 99% of the time, I suppose.

Vin

Oh that is sooo sweet. Chris Anderson or some other NYC IMC Editor/loser/malcontent and Mama Michelle, kiss and make up.

L-o-v-e-l-y (*gag*)

Michelle, you're sweet, and this despite of how misguided you are 99% of the time, I suppose.

Vin

Oh, my, that double post was a mistake because of the second rate server Michelle is using or something.

Michele - one other thing: I just finished reading a biography of Zelda Fitzgerald and one of the quotes from her letters to her husband is:

"Oh Scott, don't you just LOVE it when your first impressions are wrong??"

I feel the same way sometimes.

I'm glad to hear this. It inspires me to ask something that baffles me. I found your site via other blogs I read, all of whom happen to be written by homos like me.

I've heard them mention that they like your writing, but all I've seen lately is a kind of sour knee-jerk writing that doesn't sound like what they describe. You seem to think "the left" is totally evil, but you have gay friends and the GOP is gearing up to make gay issues one of the big themes of the next election. You are stirring up your minions who read and post here to believe that the GOP and the President shouldn't be questioned right about the point that things may get very nasty for gay people in the next election. See:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A14193-2003Oct24.html

Look at the GOP's behavior on gay adoption, domestic parnter rights, and gay marriage. It's pretty ugly, and it's going to get worse. Do you think these things don't matter to your friends, or that they are all privileged enough that it's OK?

It's gotta be that love note Latuff sent you the other day.

Michele, I don't think you're turning your back on any ideology you've expressed here by responding positively to someone who wants to talk over your differences civilly. That attitude itself is an all-American political belief.

Well, I guess it wasn't Vince. He sure does sound jealous though.

Gaytristan: For a lot of us, gay rights just aren't the cornerstone issue unless things get so bad that the GOP is proposing taking away the rights gays already have- and we think they can pull it off. (In politics, there is a BIG difference between someone paying lip service to an idea to appease a rowdy constituency, and actively working to support it or make it reality.)

I'm very definitely pro-gay-rights, being bi myself and having, ultimately, more queer friends than totally straight. But you never get everything you want in politics, and sometimes you have to just hold your nose. I'm not willing to vote a gay-rights ticket if I think the man I'm voting for is going to run our economy or foreign policy nose-first into the ground. I don't think it's politically possible for the GOP take away anything from gays right now, and I think eventually they'll have to lower their resistance; therefore their position on gays doesn't deter me.

On what Bryan said, not only does the anonymity of the form make it easy to act like an a-hole, but it's that same anonymity that makes it difficult to place certain words, phrases or ideologies in context with the person as a whole.

That's the kind of thing that comes from actually meeting someone and talking to them face to face (or email to email) and not just responding to the choice bits they've put out there for the rest of the world.

A lot of people are writing about themselves, yes, but there's a lot more to that topic than they could ever pre-meditatively put down on paper.

Labrat: Frankly, I think that's monstrous. You have made the decision that you are privileged enough to be OK with the GOP, and you don't care what happens to gay people without money and power. Look at Florida, where Bush's brother is governor. They forbid gay adoption, and may take away the kids of gay men who have adopted kids that no one else wanted. See:

http://www.lethimstay.com/

That kind of "I can permit this kind of discrimination because it won't affect me" attidude is awful.

We live in a world where people get killed because public leaders don't have a problem with anti-gay rhetoric and attitudes. The "gay panic" defense is alive and well in America.

One more thought. You've got to be kidding with the "For a lot of us, gay rights just aren't the cornerstone issue unless things get so bad that the GOP is proposing taking away the rights gays already have- and we think they can pull it off" bit.

People can be fired in almost every state in America for being a fag -- and they can tell you that's why you were fired. There are a lot of rights we don't have yet, to say nothing of protecting the ones we already have. The GOP calls the right to not be fired for putting your lover's picture on your desk "special rights."

Sufferin' Semiramis. Gaytristan? I just kind of visit this site casually--often, but casually--and Michele doesn't always say what I think she should say, either. But she gets to decide what, for her, supporting gays means. It seems to me that someone who's going to run about making such demands on utter strangers might actually post under his own goddamned name, but trust me: I can think of lots of reasons you don't feel you can, and I'm not enough of a hardass to blame you. Still, you're making your tradeoffs as you see fit, and Michele--who has her own life to live when she's not busy cheerleading for us--does, too.

Outside the constraints of matrimony, what has knowing or not knowing how a person is internally wired got to do with the capital crime of attacking the person‘s ideals when such an act is executed without tarnishing the bereaved person‘s boy-scout‘s character? Or with the indictment of your website as a vehicle of vulgarity with global ramifications? But as a caveat, if that person---in person---tries to befriend you, keep the suave bastard in quarantine for a day or two no matter how impeccably sterile the gesture. Just to ensure yourself you won’t be assimilated by an incognito used-car salesman into the society of unwary pigeons. However, if the entire sandbox escapade with the what-if stranger was sincere---your actions Michele is a commendable exercise in open-mindedness. As far as an individual-to-individual’s repoire of ideals, Megan McArdle, a.k.a., "JaneGalt," has a splendid article (on the bottom half-page) in favor of keeping our military forces in Iraq---almost enough to sway my entrenched opposition. http://www.techcentralstation.com/102803A.html

Kid, it's not that I don't care, it's that I see injustice EVERY FUCKING DAY and I don't care who's straight and who's gay.

Bush states don't let gays adopt kids? Too fuckin' bad. That's the way it is, and the way it's always been, and otherwise is PROGRESS, not the "way it should be and isn't". I will consider it progress the day I see gay, black, hispanic, muslim, gay and Christian murderers and offenders treated the EXACT SAME WAY: that means when they rape or kill it is treated as raping and killing, not as oopsie on the road to progress.

I wouldn't consider putting my lover's picture on my desk a civil right be they male, female, or soemthing bizarre inbetween. It's a whim of mine, and I don't expect the state to enforce it, and I DEFINITELY do not consider it a bigger issue than wehther some Iraqi can say "despotism sucks" without getting killed within the next week. The word is PERSPECTIVE. Learn it, learn to compromise.

Yes, people like Labrat are what I expected to see here.

It's pretty rare to see commnities proud of their rightward politics able to prevent themselves from the "some people aren't as deserving" thoughts.

I have never understood the idea of rights being a zero-sum game.

I guess those fags should get used to not "flaunting" who their families are at the office, the way decent straight people can with their photos of their kids and spouses on their desks.

It was nice chatting with all of you. I won't trouble you again.

You have it exactly backward, kid. I believe that some people are not MORE deserving than others of rights and justice, which is why I oppose hate-crime laws that make thought crimes out of existing, adequate laws against assault, murder, libel, property damage, and so on. That's why gay rights are below foriegn policy and civil rights in general on my priority list.

If you can't handle being disagreed without assuming that the other person is biased against gays- even when they're queer themself- then you'll always see enemies in people with politics different from yours.

I haven't mentioned hate crimes laws, Labrat. You don't know my opinion on them.

If you think wanting to put a photo of my family on my desk is asking for too much, then no I can't consider you an ally. I'm sorry you consider gay rights a separate issue from civil rights, which is pretty disturbing from someone who is a self-identified queer.