Agree with me! Or else!

This attitude towards arguments/debates is so prevalent now, and I really just don't get it.  To me debating has always been an easy thing.  Put yourself in your opponent's shoes, get your eyes trained on their perspective and then state your case from their point of view.  So often now I hear debates...  and I'm being nice using that word...  more like knock-down drag-out verbal fights that start with insults, end with consequences of failing to adopt a whole new opinion on something and sprinkled in are a nugget of two of sound reason.

It's everywhere.  Politics, religion, news stories... even opinions as to the possible outcomes of reality tv shows and I just find it ridiculous.  Put an insult in anywhere and you've immediately deligitimized your view.  (Yeah, I know that's not a word...  I've always been a pioneer in the verbal arena.  Stick around, you'll see.)   I'm also taken aback by the whole listing of consequences awaiting the other person if they should refuse to agree. 

I read a news story about a little boy who was forgotten at United Airlines the other day for EIGHT HOURS.  His parents had paid for the Unaccompanied Minor service, which from what I understand is quite pricey, and the airline didn't follow through and make sure the child got to his connecting flight.   The kid missed the flight and then sat in the airport for eight hours unnoticed. 

The debate that this story sparked off was incredible.  Debate as to whether parents should even be sending their children unaccompanied on an airplane.  The comments were fast and furious and were polar opposites.  But I was struck my how many just verbally tore down people who disagreed.  Now, I personally believe that if the airline provides a service, for a fee, and if someone chooses to use that service and pay for it that it is on the airline to carry out that service fully and completely.  They did not do so.   If they can't provide the service in a complete and efficient manner, they shouldn't offer it at all.

One comment I was particularly impressed by went on at length about the need for the service and the justification for it and how in this day and age with bi-coastal families it's necessary.  It was well written and well thought out.  The problem?  It started with "Commenter XYZ, you MORON!" And then went on with this awesome reply that started with an epic fail.  I have a feeling Commenter XYZ immediately got angry and dismissed the rest of the answer.  I know I would have.  

When it comes to the consequence listing...  maybe hold off on that a bit.  The last thing someone who does not practice the same faith as someone else wants to hear is "you're going to spend eternity burning in Hell!!!"  Well, that's just great.   Immediately that person will go on the defensive and is more willing to shoot back an answer like "Yup!  I've got buddies there already saving me a seat!" (and that's a nice answer) than to actually listen to what is being said.   Not that trying to convert someone is EVER a good idea, because it's SO. NOT.  You show your faith by example, not by beating someone into submission with your words and constant nagging.  How well does nagging get your husband up off the couch or away from the computer to actually help you around the house?  Not so well, right?  Makes them more prone to not help longer?  Yeah, same concept. 

So people, be nice, be understanding and if debate is necessary come at it from the perspective of the other person.    They may still disagree with you, but you'll be closer than if you threw in an insult or mighty wrath of God stuff.  AND they might not think you're an ass.  Bonus.   Relax out there, people.  We're all in this together. 

Truly yours....  Hamlet's Mistress


Spot said...

I completely agree. There is no "debate" today. For the most part its "lets see who can be the nastiest and promote the most hate". There's also very little compromise. And it is SO WRONG to try to convert people.

It may be anonymous...but I read your blog. And commented.


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