posted on Nov, 3 2014 @ 11:29 PM
Hello again ATS!
As many of you know I have been around these parts for a pretty long time. Over the years I have witnessed all sorts of mayhem, hysteria, political
and theological bickering that I am half-certain would have ended in gunfire ( or at least a good knife fight ) if such things were possible over the
Internet. I have watched good people go bad, bad people turn good and middle of the road people morph into fanatics about any given number of
For my own part, I have landed the label of "liberal moderator". I am positive that those I argue with probably add more colorful words into that
phrase than I can type out here - and get away with. But whatever I am called, I accept it and wear it all as a badge of honor. Agree with me,
disagree with me - at least I ( and you dear reader ) are part of the dialogue. And dialogue is, in my humble opinion, the most precious and powerful
weapon that we have against those who would seek to subjugate or take advantage of us. For the record, the reality or precision of any labels applied
to me ( or to any of you for that matter ) do have one downfall that I become rather annoyed with:
They create division. They separate us. They rob us of the common ground we might actually share if we were not so busy rushing for judgement and the
stars and flags that, sadly, such behaviors tend to garner. Like our cultured ancestors, it seems, we have an abiding love for the sight of
gladatorial battle and the spectacle of blood it leads to.
It is division that I want to address tonight, as I ponder and write words, freely flowing and unedited. I prefer this style to the more prudent
methods of creating drafts and revising. To me "off the cuff" is far more honest - even if it is also more prone to lighting matches far too close
to powder kegs. It is manufactured and emotional division that is eating at my heart right now and it needs to be addressed.
These labels we get stuck with, or use to identify ourselves. What purpose do they really serve? What purpose should they serve? Obviously they are
important - as we all embrace them or react to them with violent spasms of rage - given a particular situation. These labels help categorize our
feelings, our anscestry, our views, our politics and our passions. And these are, in my opinion, very positive things. We all should be aware of who
we are and how we feel. We should feel that our voice, and what we wish to say with it is worth being heard. The Framers knew this and, to their great
credit, they recognized it enough to make it America's First Amendment - the base upon which all others are built. They knew that the freedom to
speak our minds, without fear, was integral to a free society.
They also knew, I believe, that this freedom is a double edged sword and that one of the great dangers we face, as a nation and as a people ( I speak
of the entire world here ) is that it is possible for too few of us to gain a much louder voice than others have. That their messages and beliefs
could become poison in the minds of others. The argument over just where the line for freedom of speech lay is one that is ongoing, even today. In
fact today it matters more than ever.
You see, with the technological revolution came a quandary - the over amplification of a handful of people, capable of not only drowning out the
masses - but actually capable of leading others into a sort of blind obidience to those voices. Toss in the fact that our current media and news is
propagandized for maximum hate and intolerance of whatever group that media outlet dislikes and you end up with what we see all around us, every
single day - particularly on the Internet, where distance and anonymity serve to turn off any filters we would use in a more personal social
From this combination of things, zealotry arises. Dangerously polarized and absolute stances that provide for no give... No compromise or mediation.
We find ourselves in this bizarre "all or nothing" society where common ground is eroded away, instantly by hate, passion, or just plain trollery
for trollery's sake. In this we lose all hope for progress ( yes, I know, dirty filthy commie word, progress. Freaky how a good word went full on
Orwellian isn't it. It is also an example of exactly what I am venting about right now. )
What has become of us that we have somehow lost our compassion and ability ( or desire ) to simply entertain the ideas of others? Has empathy been cut
out of us all by the rhetoric? Not too many years ago, even here on ATS, one would often see a post saying "I disagree with you, but respect that you
have a right to state how you feel". Now? Now such kindnesses have been replaced by ominous threats of coming Civil Wars and how one group will
destroy another once that day arrives. Now our nation of "zero tolerance" policies has created a people with, surprise, zero tolerance for
anything that even threatens to threaten ones paradigms.
Have we forgotten the wise words of a great man who said "A house divided against itself cannot stand"? For the record, the man who spoke those
words was Abraham Lincoln - a President who had to suffer the pains of a Civil War and who saw that there is no glory or honor in brother slaying
I offer you a challenge ATS. No matter what labels you have been stuck with, or claim with pride... The next time you find yourself posting from a
position of indignation, rage, and absolute dismissal of your opponents views. Take a minute to see if that long forgotten spot within you, that used
to house your empathy, has anything left in the tank. Try to walk a mile in another's shoes. Try to understand why they might have an opinion
different from yours. None of us is perfect and we can all learn from one another - even from those we disagree with.
I ask this for a very simple and obvious reason. For all the fear this community has of "TPTB" it seems to me like we are all very good at doing
their job for them. We, as a people, are cutting our own collective throats through absolutist thought - through thinking that only we might be right
on any given topic.
In short, we are feeding the hate machine we all universally espouse distrust and hatred of. We have become the very thing we claim to fear. Each of
us in our own way.
Think about it ATS. We gravitated here, largely, because we wanted answers and have strong enough minds to handle the truth. Well, the first truth we
need to address is that we are being played against each other and we are buying into it without so much as an afterthought.
Oh, and nb4 "but guns".
Thanks for reading ATS. Please, let me see a little hope! Show me that we do have common ground and that our labels, while meaningful, are not the
absolutes we seem to have been led to believe.