Election years are not fun, especially this year with the country so divided on very passionate issues. I am reminded of the saying: “Thou shall not discuss religion, sex or politics”. But during these times they are hard to avoid. They are the hot topics in the media including Facebook and Twitter.
I confess I post on Facebook.
If you know Facebook well, you know that when you post on your wall it is opened to all your friends that you are connected to. With some it is just friends and some are more public. Of course it is a forum of posting things of which we are interested in which ranges from family pictures, links to web topics, and a diary of what one may be thinking about.
Now there is politics. That is the rub.
It is like the civil war. Red states and Blue states. Sides. It is nasty. It is no longer a dialogue or a discussion. No questions or thoughts. The sabers are drawn. From snide remarks to threats of censorship from “friends”.
From the time I was 9 years old, I remember discussing the presidential elections, although at nine I was pretty much undecided. I can remember standing on the sidewalk with my friends Freddy and Danny discussing Kennedy and Nixon amiably.
My dad, a chemical engineer with several patents to his name, would love to debate. My mother would worry that they would lose friends due to my fathers passion. Now I wonder if I carry those genes of passion myself.
Certainly these are passionate times. But what bothers me is what is happening. Censorship. I had one person email me that they thought of blocking me due to my political posts on my own page because she thought I was in her face. Another told me to stop responding to her political posts because she had already voted. Huh? Why post them then? They are open for comment. I guess she only wants those that agree. Another friend said she was afraid to post what she believed in because of the blow back that she might receive.
A conservative friend gave me a quote which she calls mantra from the left.
Free speech for ME, but NOT for THEE.
Sadly, we now live in a land of political correctness.
But free speech, not hate speech, but free dialogue of thoughts and views are very important. If we do not value free speech we are doomed. No problems would ever get solved. No one would ever look for the truth, just what is popular.
It was once popular to think that the earth was flat. Galileo was threaten with his life for realizing we were not at the center of our solar system. We are now returning to that mentality in science as well with politics in the mix and political correctness rules rather than looking for truths. We confuse theories with truths and lambast anyone that would test a theory that we are comfortable with. Religious freedom is now bound with fences. Pray, but only in your church or at home. Please leave your spiritual beliefs at the door. Censorship is coming to rule like in the fictional novel 1984 and all too sadly the historical accounts of Nazi Germany.
Now I see huge divisions. Politics, religion, and sex. Like in the Union and the Confederacy, school mates, friends and families split apart. I pray they do not carry bayonets.
How does one stop this?
Or can we?
Is this spiritual in nature?
While it is nice to talk about the weather, which now in these times can be controversial, it is hard to find “safe” topics. But do I park my beliefs at the door and become someone else for someone’s comfort zone? To keep my mouth closed to things that I find disturbing so someone else can feel comfortable? How the person that wrote the “Emperor’s New Clothes” knew human beings so well!
Politeness should rule, but censorship is anti-American as well as closed minded. It is the need for control and power.
As Tommy Smothers said: “The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen.”
But I like this quote even better:
“The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error. ” ~John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859
I never thought I would see a time like this evolve, but now it comes in silently like a thief in the night. I take a stand against it and I pray people will still go on talking and exchanging ideas for the sake of humanity.