Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

When People Disagree: A Rant

with 8 comments

Folks, if you’ve been following my blog for the past few days, you may have noticed that there was a disagreement between me and a long-time reader of my blog. Over politics, of all things…the most fraught subject in the United States, partly because everyone seemingly has made up his or her mind already. Worse yet, most of the folks I know of any political persuasion won’t change whatever their initial snap judgment was in the first place, and thus we stay stalled out.

Nothing gets done, because we can’t even agree on the basics anymore.

I don’t know what to say about this, except that it saddens me.

In this case, my former reader was a Trump supporter. I am not, and never have been. That said, I do read George Will (a conservative columnist) regularly, watch Shep Smith regularly (the best newsman on TV, and he works on Fox News), and sample a number of conservative blogs every week, including Hugh Hewitt’s (a Trump supporter and radio host).

Do I agree with much of what any of them say? Hell, no, I don’t**. But I owe it to myself to find out what they’re saying, because sometimes I do agree with a little here and there. (And every great once in a while, I find myself in agreement with someone like longtime Republican strategist Rick Wilson. Granted, he’s a #NeverTrump guy. But he still is a true conservative, and thus doesn’t have a ton in common with me in some ways.)

And one thing I do know we all agree on, whether it’s Hewitt or Will or Wilson, is that we need to believe our government works for us. Rather than them doing whatever the Hell they want (or don’t); rather than our Congresscritters (and other governmental folks) acting like pigs at the trough and getting all they can, as long as they can; rather than them acting like complete and utter idiots, out of touch with people in the middle and lower classes (so they can’t possibly make decent laws, having no idea of what the true issues are).

The way to find consensus is to read exactly what’s written, and not impart what we think the other person is writing instead. The former reader decided no matter what I said about politics that I hated Trump so much, “Trump was Hitler.” (He said this in several comments.) And I said no such thing.

In fact, what I did say was, “I don’t like Trump. I don’t trust him. I don’t think he’s a good POTUS (president of the United States). But he’s not Hitler.”

I should’ve gone further, though. Which is why I’m writing this right now.

Many dictators and authoritarian-types who’ve come to power shut down the freedom of expression as the very first thing they do. Whether they are from China or Chile, Venezuela or Uganda, or anywhere else that’s featured dictatorial rule in the past century (including Cuba), the one thing a dictator can’t handle is the freedom to say, “I don’t like that guy, and here’s why.”

With all of Trump’s faults — and he does have many — he has not done that. He’s not even tried to do that. And I think one of the reasons the hard-core Trump supporters out there (including the former reader of my blog) get so frustrated is that some members of the media have worried incessantly that Trump will do that. And worse, some of the most loudmouthed members of the chattering class believe it’s only a matter of time, and have already decided Trump is guilty of suppressing freedom of the press right now.

Know, please, that I am not among those folks.

But back to the matter at hand. It isn’t fair to impart motives to my writing that do not exist. That frustrates the Hell out of me. As a writer, I try to be as blunt and to the point as I can, and make it blindingly obvious what I think when I’m writing my blogs or anything of a nonfiction nature. (Fiction, by definition, is different. And you have to take different tactics there as a writer to do the job. But I digress.) I do that on purpose, because I do not want to be misunderstood.

What I do know, though, is this: If we can’t agree even on how to disagree, we’re in big trouble.

I realize many people, myself included, are worried about all sorts of things, big and small; that said, we have to at least be willing to agree to disagree sometimes, and be civil about doing it. And not just storm off in a huff when you’re not getting your point across, or you don’t particularly want to agree to disagree, either. (That’s something the US Congress does very well. We, as people, should not.)

My belief, overall, is that you don’t have to agree with me. (In fact, I hope you don’t always agree with me. How boring would it be to have a bunch of echo chambers around all the time?) But you do have to be civil about your disagreement, and you really should try to see what the words actually are, rather than what you think they are.

End rant.

——–

**I like Shep Smith’s newscasts, and I agree with how he presents the news. He is objective and principled. I like that. I wish we had a lot more of it.

 

8 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Think you are hard done by regarding politics? Take a long hard look at UK politics. Things got so bad that our current Prime Minister closed Parliament for five weeks to stop being attacked by the opposition parties. He wants to honour the people’s wish to leave the EU on the 31st. Our politicians dont! In fact they want to make the ‘Leave’ result of the 2016 referendum illegal!!!

    Jack Eason

    September 18, 2019 at 3:53 am

    • I don’t know what to say, Jack. I do know politics are difficult in the UK also.

      Barb Caffrey

      September 18, 2019 at 8:22 pm

  2. This is a mature and thoughtful post Barb.
    Regrettably both in the UK and the USA we seemed to have reached the stage where there is an underlying theme of
    “Look. You started it. Right, I’m going to finish it and have the last word!’
    In the UK we have taken this a step lower with vitriolic in-fighting within the Right and The Left wings over many questions although Brexit is the touchstone.
    You have to wonder how far both nations will descend in this hostility.

    deteremineddespitewp

    September 22, 2019 at 10:50 am

    • Yeah. I hope we’ll be able to remember how to talk with people, soon. What we see in the news is just depressing.

      Barb Caffrey

      September 22, 2019 at 6:50 pm

      • History does not promise an easy delivery. We must, each and everyone do the best we can not to let the forces of Hate, Fear and Ignorance flood our lands and societies.

        deteremineddespitewp

        September 23, 2019 at 2:48 am

      • Agreed.

        Barb Caffrey

        September 24, 2019 at 12:12 am

  3. Reblogged this on Have We Had Help? and commented:
    Politics – my favourite subject. NOT!!!

    Jack Eason

    October 2, 2019 at 12:53 am


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: