“One can disagree without being disagreeable.” – Gerald Ford.
When I argue, I argue. Part Jew + part Irish = 100% fire in the belly, go for the throat, opinionated… asshole. How easy it is for me to forget Ford’s statement, piss people off, then regret it afterwards. I got into it today with a moral relativist – ex- military of Jewish decent – who equated the axing of Saddam & his sons with that of Bush. I’ll admit, I had a bad day and was looking to blow off steam… In the end I was kicking myself for not using better arguments when I should have NOT BEEN ARGUING AT ALL.
One thing that I occasionally forget: my opponents are are not idiots undeserving of compassion. They are not demons or evil. While I thought I was not getting personal, I did rip into her arguments with undeserved veracity. She thought that I was attacking her, took it personally and even when I apologized it was clear to all that it was too late. I had crossed the line, and will be ignored – written off as a Right Wing lunatic.
One can disagree without being disagreeable. Sometimes I need to step back and remind myself that I am not Ann Coulter, or Bill O’Reilly defending the world from Evil. Truth be told, there’s usually a strong chance that I am wrong. At the very least I need to follow Ford’s dictum to keep the level of dialog going. Monologs are incredibly boring, and the only way to expect people to listen is to listen to them.
I screwed up today, and I am truly sorry. I could offer a thousand excuses, but really there is no reason for uncivility in today’s society. Democrat or Republican; Straight or Gay; Brown or Pink; There are few truly evil men in this world, and I need to remember that the people that I meet are most likely on the same side as I am when it comes to respecting life and wanting a better world for my children.
But I have no problem with the killings of Uday and Qusay… 😉