I'm back from a foray into the wilds of unfiltered lunacy on the internet. It feels like I've been in a kind of fugue state, really.
Here's how it happened:
When I first started this blog, I used to post the title of my latest blog entries for free on one of three craigslist areas - "Rants and Raves," "Politics," and/or "Therapeutic Services," depending on what the subject matter was. Given the nature of my primary field of interest, I posted on the Therapeutic Services area most often. I rarely wrote on the cl posting beyond just the title and a link to my blog, and to be honest, I rarely read what other people were saying on craigslist. I was just trying to bring people to my blog.
Then, about two months ago, craigslist started charging a fee to post on the therapeutic site. Since I write and post so often, it didn't seem worthwhile to start paying for the privilege, so I just posted on the Rants site or the politics site when I had something to say that was relevant to the area. After a while, I started paying attention to what others were writing about on cl, especially on the politics site. It was an eye-opener!
For whatever reason, the cl politics site has become a gathering place for the most hateful, vile, racist and all around ignorant segments of our population. I mean, this place is the far right of the far right. Obama is the anti-Christ here for sure. They casually refer to the president as "boy," and frequently talk about his wife's "fat ass." Some of the regular posters regularly call him a socialist, a communist, a liar, a traitor, certainly not an American, and most definitely plotting to turn the United States into a dictatorship! On and on it goes. Oh, and liberals? Forget about it! They are just "Commie Fucks," "pussies," and cry-babies" because they don't want to settle their differences by having a fist fight! For real!
Anyway, those of you who regularly read my blog know that I frequently say that you can only preach to the choir, and that some people cannot change in this lifetime. And just the other day, I posted an excellent interview with one Frank Schaeffer, a conservative Christian and former Republican who said this about the religious far right: "You don‘t work to move them off this position. You move past them. Look, a village cannot reorganize village life to suit the village idiot. It‘s as simple as that. And we have to understand, we have a village idiot in this country, it‘s called 'Fundamentalist Christianity.”
Well, I lost my way for a bit. I started getting so angry at what I was hearing on the cl site that I let myself get drawn into the fray. Yep. I started bantering at first, then out-right mud-slinging with some of the worst of the haters there... until the other day. I stopped myself, shook my head and posted this on the cl politics site:
"AN OPEN APEAL TO ALL POSTERS HERE" -
"This is a very challenging and potentially exciting time for our country. It's a new century and we're all here participating in it. Throwing hate-filled verbal assaults at each other is not only out of synch with the opportunities that this moment in history is providing to us, it is an indication that we're letting our fears of change and our most base and primitive impulses rule us. We're all passionate about having our voices in the ongoing dialogue heard or else we wouldn't be posting here. It only discredits our contribution when we trash others as if they were traitorous losers because they see something differently than we do.
This isn't a contest, my team against your team. We're all Americans, liberal-conservative, Republican-Democrat, and America is a democratic republic, founded on the principles that all are created equal with equal rights to pursue life, liberty and happiness. And our government and Constitution were established to protect the well-being and freedom of all citizens. You're no more of a patriot if you marched for or against health care, for or against the Iraq War, etc. If you honestly care about the general well-being of your fellow Americans, then you're a patriot. If you think a particular point of view is wrong, say so, go for it, make your case as articulately as you can, but if you make personal attacks, you're surrendering credibility and lowering the level of discourse for everyone. I am guilty. I have gotten very angry at those who I see as "wrong," and so, I have become part of the problem instead of part of the solution. I am stopping. Let's all stop and listen. There are no saints out here, and there are no devils.
Well, I have said you can only preach to the choir, right? Here's the only response I got:
"The Constitution was designed to give us freedoms and to protect us from Government. It is our right to protest. Protesting is not unpatriotic, it is our Constitutional right. And so is speaking out. So go blow, you ignoramus!"
The Village Idiot lives!