I wonder. Have we really become so self-absorbed and contentious as a nation that the skill at which we are most adept is arguing with each other? Are we so set on being right that we don't give a damn what we say or how far we push each other? As Americans, we've always prided ourselves on our individuality. But do we pursue our individuality at the expense of demanding that others surrender theirs? We're willing to honor individuality as long as it doesn't get in our face and directly conflict with our own convictions. The sad truth seems to be that we've come to equate passion with anger and hostility. Should we not be able to express our beliefs, differing as they may be, without diminishing the person who disagrees with us? In other words, it's okay for me to express my individuality, but you'd better not even try, unless yours mirrors mine.
Intolerance is the new standard. We've gone from the days of I'm okay, you're okay to a new generation of I'm okay, but you're only okay if your beliefs align with mine. Otherwise, you're shit. How ludicrous is that? We don't listen, we don't learn, we don't compromise. No, we scream, insult, belittle and generally show our own ignorance when we indulge in this intolerant behavior. It's been my experience, that people who are secure in their beliefs, that is to say, those who fully comprehend and can logically defend their beliefs, don't have to resort to rage and bullying. They don't feel a need to beat their opposers to the ground. My God! They are even willing to engage in respectful and orderly debate.
I read a blog today written by a friend on another site. He made the following statement: Some people have a right to be angry... but some seem to have an almost disembodied free-floating anger/hatred/whatever. He nailed it with that disembodied free-floating anger description.
Thank God that we live in a country that allows us freedom of speech. Thank God that we can go into a forum like this one and express our opinion in whatever manner we think is appropriate. But I'm sad that qualities like mutual respect, graciousness, and simple courtesy seem to have been thrown to the wind as we pound our chest in a display of free-floating anger that we mistake for passion. I would think it would be exhausting to stay at this fevered pitch for days and weeks on end. It's damn sure exhausting to me to read it day after day after day.