This isn’t the story I want to write. It’s Sunday, and it should be a light day. But it’s the story that needs to be written.
We just got through a contentious issue… and I DON’T want to go back to it, so I’ll thank people to not bring it up in the comment section. There have been enough threads in the past few weeks, go back there and argue specifics.
However, I noticed that because some of the people on the site – including many of the moderators – had a particular opinion, people who were in the minority opinion suddenly felt unwelcome.
That is not the case. Even if you’re in a minority of one (and there are some people who, on certain issues, seem to be sole promoters of that issue) your voice is welcome here. In many cases, just because you’re the only one writing something out doesn’t mean you’re the only person thinking it. There are others – the “invisible eyes” of readers – who are going through, agreeing with you, and thankful that someone is presenting their side.
We’re not all going to argue the same way. Some people prefer an emotional pull, some work logically. Over-the-top statements and superlatives turn off many here, but they appeal to others. Have your debating style, but try not to be overly aggressive about it.
If you’ve really presented a good argument, you can let someone else have the last word. Needing the last word is typically an indicator of a weaker position.
Also keep in mind that some issues will raise emotional responses. The Roy Moore candidacy was a great example of that, as were the primary races in 2015. People will argue. It’s a sign that we’re all adults. But when they may have an emotional stake in it, due to personal investment of time and money or due to a traumatic experience, they’re more likely to be hurt by words.
The empathic response to that is to try to minimize the pain to the other people while not abandoning your core point. It’s called decency. It’s something I believe we should all strive toward. “Trigger Warnings” are something I find ridiculous, but that’s only because I try to enter discussions recognizing that some topics may cause significant pain. I fall down on that end sometimes… for example, making a joke about someone taking hard drugs to get through the day… but for the most part I believe most people recognize the difference between laughing at the pain of a severe burn victim and laughing at a person with toilet paper stuck to his shoe.
This site was created under a few basic principles. We even have a mission statement… something I, admittedly, thought unnecessary. I was very wrong. It’s incredibly helpful at times like this.
“We promote Founding Principles by providing a place for discussion and education through community building and civilized debate.”
That is why we’re here. Not to talk about any one issue or promote only one side of it. We will default to Founding Principles as we understand them, and we will enforce the “civilized” portion as well as encouraging the “community” part. That’s the common core. That’s what joins all of us. That, hopefully, is why you’ve read through to this point.
I’m writing this alone, without consulting any of the other site contributors. I am normally loathe to speak for others, particularly people who are my partners in any joint venture. In this case, I’m making an exception.
I’m not going to reply to any comments in the comment section. I’m going to let everyone else have the last word. Oh, and you’ll notice I admitted to being wrong, four paragraphs ago. I’m still here, I didn’t dissolve in a puff of smoke.
We’re all rational adults. It’s why this site was made, why we’re happy to have you here, and why we hope you continue to feel like family, even when we disagree.