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Mute

I’ve been sitting in front of my computer for what seems like hours, just staring at the space I wish to fill with words.  There is so much going on right now in our world, so to say that I have nothing to write about would be a false statement.  President Obama’s inauguration happened just a few days ago and the world is buzzing over his speech.  Manti Te’o and Lance Armstrong are still dominating the news as new details are being brought to light.  The issue of gun control is a hot topic, especially with the recent injuries at a Texas college.  The snow in Indiana is putting huge smiles on the faces of meteorologists and making plenty of drivers irritated or idiotic.  Personally, I’m doing a bit of battle with my bank over some insane fees and have not had anything resolved yet despite my efforts over the last three days.  I have a ton I could talk about.

talk

The problem is, I’m tired.  Not physically, but mentally tired and fed up with the constant stream of nonsense that is fed to me on a daily basis.  I an exhausted by the voices of people who have the power to actually fix the issue in question, but who instead choose to rant and rave about it in order to stir the pot and get the crowd stirring.  I’m weary of listening to opinions coming from people who are either too undereducated to speak on the issue or who wrongly assume they know much more than they do.  It seems that for every one person who can phrase things properly and who has a valid point, there are fifty people waiting in the wings and ready to give you a migraine with their nonsense.

I’m definitely not the resident expert on everything that is currently on my radar, but expertise isn’t really necessary in order to present a valid argument or intelligent opinion.  No one needs to break out a thesaurus and dictionary in order to impress with their vast vocabulary, and no one needs to flash a diploma in order to be taken seriously.  Intellect is not what is lacking, it’s common sense and respect that is absent.  Your level of education means nothing when your best comeback is laced with profanity and does nothing but call your opposition a loser or a douchebag.

images

I happen to be against strict gun laws, for example, and I know well and good that a large group of people will disagree with one or more areas of my viewpoint.  I have absolutely no issue with that in itself; it is important for this world to have a diverse group of opinions, especially when it comes to finding a proper solution to a problem.  What exhausts me is that I will express my view on gun control and get back “you’re stupid,” “this is dumb,” or “you’re wrong” in response.  All right, I will accept that I’m wrong, now tell me why.  Tell me why my view is stupid and incorrect.  Tell me why your view is superior.  Give me something to work with other than the vague insult to my intelligence and I’ll be happy.

You see this kind of arguing everywhere.  In sports, for example, if someone doesn’t like a particular player but that player has skills, their insult will be “____ SUCKS!”  Nevermind the fact that the person obviously does not suck since they are a top player, this insult is thrown out there because the speaker simply can’t come up with anything better.  They don’t have a valid argument or anything concrete to back up their statement.  They go to the playground-style insults because that is all they can throw out there.  You can strike up a conversation if the insulter targeted a specific skill set or brought up stats.  You can’t do much with “you suck” other than shake your head and move on with your day.

Loser

I don’t want to live in a nation of stupid people, but that is exactly where I am.  The truly intelligent are being outnumbered by those, regardless of IQ, who become children at the first sign of a disagreement or difference of opinion.  Rather than take a minute and give a response that makes sense, people are happier to leave scathing comments at the bottom of news articles, take to forums to bash the opposition, or engage in social media wars where the goal is to make the other side look bad instead of properly presenting your opinion and being heard by whatever audience is listening.

About a year ago, I had a lovely person visit my blog and read an entry about my lack of faith in the Christian God.  It was by far the best interaction I have ever had with someone who disapproved of my choice to be an Atheist.  There was no pressure to change, no forcing anything down my throat, and no insults or name calling.  I got to hear their experience with faith, their struggles to believe, and their hope that I may change my mind one day.  That interaction gave me back a lot of faith in humanity.  It was respectful, informative, and even educational.  It is also an unfortunately rare occurrence, as I am generally just told I’m wrong when I reveal my Atheism to a believer, but it gave me hope that there are good people out there who can disagree with you and who can argue their side without resorting to 4th grade tactics.

Like it or not, we’re all stuck on this Earth together until the bitter end, so we may as well learn to get along a bit better.  Go ahead and be angry that Obama was given a second term, but don’t just throw out black jokes and tell me he’s a crappy President.  Give me SOMETHING!  Anything!  Throw out a policy of his that you don’t like or remind me of a promise he made and broke.  Have fun with the jokes, but have something substantial to bring to the table along with the fluff and nonsense.  Do something more than just rattle off a list of people and things who SUCK, even if it’s something small.  Take advantage of the brain encased in your skull and put it to work once in a while.

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About Jamie C. Baker

“Long time no see. I only pray the caliber of your questions has improved.” - Kevin Smith

Posted on January 25, 2013, in Life, News and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Looks like you filled the space up that you were staring at pretty good. WHOA?! What happened to my Avatar? I’ll have to go fix that. I could not agree more with your post. I think I remember the religious comment you were talking about and I agree, she approached it from a very calm, collected perspective that simply could not be seen as an attack by any means. An approach like that leads to an intelligent conversation and exchange of ideas.

    As you say, I too am used to the emotional vitriol that all too often spews forth with acrid intensity from someone’s mouth whenever I challenge their position on something. I have found particularly with political and economic discussions that most of my adversaries base their position on emotion. It is not dissimilar to how religious people base their position on their religious belief. For example, someone who is pro-life is considering God’s role in the creation of the baby. Seeing as they believe in God, and God has a problem with abortion, I don’t have anything to say to that except my own opinion, not based on God. In this example, should I express my pro-choice view, they will retort with their pro-life view, supported by God.

    However, many people I have sparred with on certain topics are based on emotion not God, so their position that guns should be banned from the face of America, or how we don’t spend enough money on the poor, etc… are based on their emotions., therefore they will retort emotionally, because that is all their position was based on anyway so all they can do is turn up the volume. At least those that believe in God have God to fall back on in a discussion. Those based on emotion, only have MORE emotion to fall back on when challenged. This leads to name calling, abusive language, being “written off” as a crack pot, or someone who hates here, etc… The classical “kill the message by killing the messenger” tactic.

    Early on when I was meeting my wife’s extended family, I was asked my position on something, and a few of the girls actually laughed and one put her hand on my shoulder and said, “We’ll change all of that nonsense.” Everything I had just said was reduced to infantile status with one curt laugh, an eye roll and a condescending gaze. I felt like a kid feels when they did something they should be embarrased about. Years later at another event I challenged that same girl on a particular position and all she could retort with was emotion, we had to help the poor, we had to give them more money, the rich weren’t paying enough, but she had nothing to base any of this on. She asked me if I knew about the homeless under the 5 freeway, and I said, “Not only do I know about them, I’ve met them. Have you?” Of course, she had not. I started spouting off facts and figures, websites and logical arguments. It drew a crowd. My wife has since told me that when I start talking about economics and politics at family events, everyone at the tables around stops to listen (I never noticed this).

    I am not so egocentric to believe that I have changed any of their beliefs, but at least they are willing to listen, and nobody laughs at me anymore. More often, they ask me questions now. What I think about this or that. My wife asks me sometimes why I bother. Nothing I say is going to change how anyone thinks. But I believe that the challenge is sufficient. I explained to her that if I can put even a seed of doubt, just that grain of contrarian thought into their minds, and if I do it in a calm, rational, logical way…perhaps they will be less quick to judge, less quick to assume there is no logical counterargument, less quick to rubber stamp more money for this or that, higher taxes on these and those people, perhaps they will take a few minutes to find out more about some economic or political issue before they spout off some emotionally based ideological rhetorical diatribe and go home feeling so proud of themselves after a good self-stroking like that.

    Perhaps not. But I don’t know how to be any other way and as a citizen of America that just wants my Government to leave me alone, I have to try. Isn’t that the strangest statement? “I just want to be left alone.” I want to keep what I earn and work hard and if I have problems I will take care of them myself. And to do that…to just be left alone, I have to fight my own Government and everyone who supports more of it because neither of them want to leave me alone. They all want something from me, or to make me do something, or make me not do something, when I all I want is to be left alone. Amazing. Really is.

  2. “Like it or not, we’re all stuck on this Earth together until the bitter end…”

    I love it when you start slinging the wry humor out there!

  3. Some great perspective and a good attitude to have when dealing with those that are “less informed” and feel like running their mouth makes them sound like an expert. It is usually the most vocal that are the ones I tend to not listen to.

  4. “I hate you. You’re crazy. One minute you’re cool the next minute you’re throwing pointy objects at my head. Why would I ever want anything to do with you? You are the most insufferable bitch I have ever met!” Jackal yelled all the while looking straight into Mars’ eyes.She scowled taking a step forward, hissing, “Oh, I’m insufferable huh? You’re insufferable! You never say what you mean! The only reason I even bother with you is that I’m curious. And yes! Yes I am crazy. And I’d rather be crazy and say what I mean than keep everything in and pretend I’m something I’m not, to win approval!” ― L.M.N.

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