Ah, the Opinion Page. Where people can share an opinion. I have two thoughts about the Opinion Page. One is that it's fun to read the thoughts of others in the community. Sometimes they bring up something I had never thought about, and other times I might cock my head a bit and wonder where that thought came from.
My second thought concerns "monitoring" the comments on said articles. Someone commented, "This isn't very civil dialogue. Where's the ref?" I look at the responses that come in. I glance at the name and sigh. I know if I have a letter from some writers, I can usually bet that there will be responses from the same three or four people. That's fine. I'm happy that they are reading and feel the need to respond. We need more dialogue in our society.
What I don't like is the fact that comments often go from attacking the ideas to attacking the person or their intelligence. Quite often I find that it's easier to fire off a comment rather than to write a letter of your own on a topic and clearly explain why you think what you think.
Writers put themselves out there to share what they think. Words are a reflection of the heart of a person. When commenting on these words, if you're happy with how you represent yourself in responding and you aren't threatening anyone, which is against the law anyway, words are words.
I understand that we like to not read and cringe. I do too. Then I remember some of the words printed in newspapers a hundred or so years ago. Words directed at opposing newspapers in town made me cringe reading them 100 years later. At the same time, I wanted to read the next issue to see the response. In this case, it was two editors bickering at each other. I don't even remember the topic, but it was definitely some interesting reading.
In the social media world, actual discussion about COVID is being squashed. If you have questions about the several versions of instructions that we've received you are somehow a moron for asking. You are considered an even bigger moron if you ask, "Is there some treatments we can do to help us, like vitamins?"
Discussions about politics are monitored and you get little notes sent home from the social media principal's office warning you of impending wrist slaps. If you put something on social media that some invisible "fact-checker" doesn't like you are labeled a liar.
Quite frankly, I don't particularly care to be the thought police for discussions on the Opinion Page. Talk away. Use the brains that God gave you and talk to each other! We need more of it. Ask questions, then listen for the reply.
In the guidelines for commenting we say, "Disagree politely with ideas shared, don't make it personal.' I think our society has forgotten how to do that.
The move, it seems today, is to berate someone with whom you disagree. I always say, when that happens, you are telling the world that you've lost the argument. You're giving a knee-jerk reaction to either the writer or the topic.
Often I want to say, "Turn off the television. Open your computer, and really do some digging into what you think is going on. Read opposing sides. Ask questions. Then ask more questions. When you get done, look at the topic again and ask some MORE questions." When you do that, you'll find you haven't gotten the answer but more questions.
When you are there, you can form a much better opinion. You might find to your chagrin that you might soften your stance on what you THOUGHT you believed.
So I guess what I'm saying is this. I'm not here to monitor every thought that comes from your computer to mine. I am saying, that what you put out here, lives on, and on, and on. Respond politely, respond after you've done at least 3 minutes of processing what you've read...THEN send in a response. Your relatives will thank you.
Now, I'll get back to work on tomorrow's edition.