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The Damning and Destructive Effects of Political Tension

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posted on Jan, 31 2013 @ 02:20 PM
To begin this thread I find it necessary to go back in time to, really, any point previous to Sandy Hook. There have always been chasms that people from the left and right just cannot seem to find any bridges across. But prior to Sandy Hook it just seems like those no mans land areas were smaller and less menacing. Please, allow me to share my own experience and perceptions.

When I first arrived at ATS I thought I was pretty conservative. I've been dealing with an illness for the past five years - so it is entirely possible that I actually was more conservative than I am now - and just don't see the change in myself. The mirror shows me a bit older than it used to - but it looks like the same "me" that's always been there. So maybe I lack perspective enough to notice any changes. Conservatism is an easy thing to embrace when ones neighborhood is upper middle class, ones job is in management, and ones bank account is healthy. It's much harder to share those same "survival of the fittest" ideals when one stops being the fittest.

Whatever the case, it didn't take long for ATS to label me liberal. That is something I first made peace with, and now tend to embrace. That word. At first it really offended me because I had predisposed ideas of what "liberal" meant. When I heard it I would, in my minds eye, see hippies and 1960's activists like Patty Hearst or the Weather Underground... I'd see Charles Manson. It wasn't something I was comfortable being called. Time has resolved that issue. Now I tend to see more noble faces, like Gandhi or MLK - and I find pride in the idea that these are men who changed the world with their ideas - not with threats or armies. That is the way it should be.

Besides. The reality is that this is the Internet and the Internet is something like an amplifier for these things. Here we tend to turn up the volume on our "isms" far louder than we'd do so in the real world. Even if we think we don't? We do.

Over the years I had some extremely heated debates with any number of members who identified as conservative. I'll let you in on a secret though. More often than not, even as the debates were raging, the other party and I were in very civil and friendly communication via U2U - saying things like "I hope you don't take that lost shot too personally. I like you and all, but I had to stand my ground! LOL!" There were even times, more than I can count, where another member and I would be going at each other like a Kennedy at an open bar - only to end up on the same side, defending one another and standing in unison when some random member happened to wander in and attacked either one of us too harshly.

There was a friendly spirit of debate and a camaraderie underneath it all that was very fulfilling and created an atmosphere where it was safe to speak ones mind.

Then Sandy Hook happened and it seems to have all changed in an instant.

It's not just that tensions have increased. It's not just that the divide between conservative and liberal has widened from a chasm into what seems like an endless ocean. It's more than that. It's like something broke and now instead of "I disagree but respect your right to believe that" - it is more like "You don't deserve to live". There is a much, much greater violence lurking within us suddenly - from both sides. And it's frankly very frightening to me. Not on a personal level. I'm one of those idiots who'll fight anyone. But I am just sane enough to understand that society cannot suffer an ass kicking quite as well as I can. Break my ribs and I'll scarf down some Motrin and buy you a beer the next night. Society isn't wired that way. Harm it and it holds grudges for generations. That is what scares me. Not the current divisions... the potential implications of those divisions.

More to the current situation though. This increase in vitriol stifles debate and communication in so many ways. Not only are we currently unwilling to hear what the other side says - but we are also ( at least in my case ) now engaging in this very unhealthy sort of self-censorship... holding back ideas or statements to avoid the hassle. All this really does is cause the pressure to build and, in the end, to make things worse because one can only hold in so much before one completely explodes and overreacts at some point - thus creating an even greater divide and even more resentment.

I stopped posting for awhile because of this phenomenon. Then I came back, all fired up. That lasted about an hour before I found myself, once again, biting my tongue and feeling queasy. Now? Now it's like this strange dance of trying to go through the motions, completely aware that I'm way too stressed out to have any sense of rhythm. I'm tight, stiff, and out of sync. As I glance out, across the dance floor, painfully aware of my own robotic movement I find that there are many people present who seem to be in the same boat as me. They're moving like robots and frantically looking around as well.

To be honest, part of me wants to just hang up my political hat and develop an interest in bigfoot or UFO's or something. Maybe more than just a part of me. The only thought that stops me is that liberals tend to be passive in nature. They tend to want peaceful things. Thus it occurs to me that if all liberals feel this way and we all just take the easy way out? Well? We'll find ourselves living in a nightmare world where Ayn Rand, Ronald Reagan, and Jesus are the Holy trinity and anyone who doesn't fit an exacting mold is either deported or killed - all in the name of survival of the fittest. So I keep trying.

In the long run, folks, this is my America just like it's your America. Neither of us supersedes the others place in this nation. We are a country where all have a voice and none can be silenced. And that is the most precious and important thing that we've got. It is what makes our nation what it is. Not corporations, not free medical care ( or not ), not party affiliation or political bent... but the freedom of all to speak - to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.

We can debate exactly what all that means until the cows come home. That, IMO, is what the Framers intended when they set this all in motion.

When it gets so we feel that we cannot speak? Or when we are silenced by others because they feel that their opinion outweighs ours? When a drone arises to silence the smaller voice? Well... that's not America. And if that's what we end up with? We're already too late.

We need to find, again, that place within ourselves where we respect even that which we disagree with. At least I know that I need to find it again. Do you?


posted on Jan, 31 2013 @ 02:58 PM
ATS has gotten to the point that all I have to do is read the title of a given thread on a certain subject and within the first 3 pages of posts I know which members have replied and what they have said before I even open the page.

When I'm reading a thread if I see certain members have already replied I won't even bother posting, because I know the personal insults that my post will bring from said members. I refuse to feed their miserable lives with the attention they seek.

Mods allow the insults and so it will continue. I don't see anything changing anytime soon. I just read the threads and avoid/ignore the immature members.

posted on Jan, 31 2013 @ 07:13 PM
I must concur on the "self censorship" issue post Sandy Hook - as well as the site censorship issue. Any SH type thread compels me to immediately go to the end of the thread just to see if it has been closed - I can't say how many wasted hours of reading and preparing to post something profound (at least in my own mind) only to find the thread closed without further comments accepted. These days, I'll read a thread and purposely choose NOT to post my thoughts because the gist has been already covered - that's the kind of self-censorship I experience.


posted on Feb, 5 2013 @ 01:53 AM
In my own personal opinion I view politics as just an endless, vicious cycle of incoherent jibber jabber that never get's anywhere important. All I hear when I view politics is left wing this, right wing that, liberal this, conservative that, because I view the world differently. All I see is people, we're all just people and I don't understand why the need to label and separate eachother from one another through political ideologies. After all we are 'one' nation and this would seem counterproductive? Any person from any background can contribute to a problem and provide perseverance and useful input, why label the different people?

I'm sure not everyone who is so called liberal shares 100% liberal ideas, and only those ideas, they are just a human being. All I see it doing is causing useless, meaningless arguments and unnecessary tension. Maybe I come off a little strong with my viewpoint on this, but in my opinion this is all I see. Maybe it could be good to back away from politics for a while to maybe see a different side of the world.

Edit: And in removing political ideologies and flaunting them to one another, we might then be able to listen to our neighbor better, without feeling the need and responsibility to stick up for what is pretty much a ghost (political party in this sense) in ourselves and in this world. Everyone could freely speak and contribute without it turning into what formerly be predisposed chaos and conflict that will never form solutions to problems.
edit on 5-2-2013 by unb3k44n7 because: (no reason given)

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