Friday, February 10, 2017

My Tongue is Taking a Beating!!

I'm ten days into my self-imposed No Politics February. I would be lying if I said it's been easy. Not only have I not written about politics, I have also refrained from commenting on anyone else's politically charged posts. Let's just say that I've bitten my tongue so many times, it needs stitches. But, something remarkable has started to happen. Gradually, day by day, I'm starting to feel better.

Do I miss the chance to vent my spleen over some idiotic story coming out of the White House? Well, yes, I do. Primarily because it's a lot of fun. Do I miss the chance to excoriate the imbeciles that populate the left when they do what they do? Of course. Primarily because it feels so good. But, every time I just let it go, I realize that the world can get along just fine without my opinion. I'm learning that it is quite freeing to lay down the burden of always feeling the need to signal my virtue 24 hours a day." I must make sure people know that I disagree with this!!" Well, actually no, I don't.

Here's another thing. Knowing that I am prohibited from mouthing off about stuff for awhile has allowed me the chance to dig deeper into stories, read more about the issue. Sometimes this has resulted in additional confirmation of my own views, but other times it has shed light on different perspectives that I hadn't considered...and, dare I say, changed my mind? See, that's something that has become crystal clear to me over the last few weeks. For all of our opinions and rants on Facebook, nobody, and I mean nobody is changing anybody's mind. All we are doing is further entrenching ourselves in the comfort of our own biases. We are walling ourselves off into ideological tribes. In our rush to be right or even witty, we have lost the art of persuasion because we have gotten intellectually lazy. Instead of researching a complicated political topic by reading a variety of opinions before formulating our own, we fall back on our gut instincts and personal history, then  launch broadsides at each other in ignorance. Naturally, I feel this especially true of my ideological opponents, but in all honesty, I also stand guilty as charged. Nobody likes being lectured. Few people  respond well to condescension. There's a fine line between talking to someone and talking at them, or worse still, talking past them.

So, this punditry pause has been mostly a positive experience. But, my poor tongue is taking a beating here, people!