Contentious

1 Mar

I’m considering quitting facebook.

Really, I am.  Hear me out.

I love seeing pictures of my friends and their families.  I love reconnecting with long-lost friends from elementary school in Virginia, or youth group in Honduras, or prep school in New Mexico. I really love being able to eaves-drop on my sister Rachel’s life in Australia–seeing events she is going to, weddings she has been in, and posts from her friends in Australia and here in the US make her seem a little bit closer than half a world away.  But I am tired of logging onto facebook and seeing that some of my friends think that I am an ignorant, hateful bigot.  Or worse.

I am a registered Republican.  My views are best described as conservative-libertarian (think Ron Paul for all things domestic but less isolationism with regards to foriegn policy).  I am also a Christian.  I am staunchly pro-life and also pro-contraceptives (is that a thing now?), for people who wish to use them.  I believe in free markets and free people.  I do not believe in “free” health insurance (somebody, somewhere, somehow is paying for it).  I passionately believe in compassion on a personal level–I think that churches, private charities, families and individuals provide the best helping hands.

I am not a racist.  Or a bigot.  Or a homophobe.  I did not vote for President Obama and I will not vote for him in November.  This has nothing to do with his skin color and everything to do with his policies.  We disagree on fundamental issues and I would rather have a president whose views and vision for this country are more similar to mine.  I do not agree with any of the Republican nominees on every issue, but I do agree with all of them more than I agree with our current president.

Many of my best friends are liberal Democrats.  Some are even Socialists.  I love passionate, informed discussions with people from all different backgrounds and points of view.  I despise broad generalizations and straw men.  Obviously I think that my opinions are right and true or they wouldn’t be my opinions, but I also realize that there is plenty of room for disagreement.  I do not think that people who disagree with me are all evil or stupid.

I really wish that my friends could afford me the same respect.  It is so disheartening to log onto facebook in the morning and see, among the baby pictures and engagement announcements and silly youtube videos, crass and sometimes hateful comments generalizing all conservatives and/or Republicans (or liberal Democrats for that matter, from my conservative bretheren) as dumb or malevolant, or both.  It makes me miss the days of face-to-face discussions, when instead of generalizing that only men who can never get pregnant are anti-abortion, you had to look me in the face and realize that I am a woman who has had a child and I am also the face of the pro-life movement.  Or the fact that just because I disagree with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act I do not want people to die for lack of health insurance.

So please, before you post, realize that probably all 1,000 people on your friend list do not agree with you, and some may be offended by your tone.  If you want to start a rational discussion, without hateful, contentious rhetoric, go ahead–important conversations about public policy are vital for our democracy to thrive!  Please, I beg of you, just be respectful. 

Because I want to see pictures from your Alaskan vacation and know when you get that big promotion at work.

And I promise to be respectful too. 

5 Responses to “Contentious”

  1. Mary Jane Atwood March 1, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    You said it, Sarahbelle! I love a passionate debate, but respectful commentary seems to be a thing of the past.

  2. mynotsogerberbaby March 1, 2012 at 11:37 am #

    I could not agree with you more. As a Conservative American, myself, it is incredibly insulting to be reading some of the more heinous words, articles, etc posted about the beliefs I value and hold dear. So SING IT, Sarah….. Your words are so eloquent!! You’re motivating me to rekindle my blog and freshen it up and add all the things I have journaled to it!

  3. Amanda Behrens March 1, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    Sarah,
    You are one of the smartest, most amazing people I have met (your whole family really) and I love everything you said here. I tend to shy completely away from politics because I hate getting into conversations with people who just want you to give up and believe what they believe. Who can’t understand why you would even think something like all people are equal and deserve to have the same rights (speaking about Gay rights). Its frustrating sometimes but everyone has their opinions and unfortunately there will always be those people who are hateful! Don’t leave facebook just remember those people who love to chat with you about other stuff or see your beautiful pictures of your baby! 🙂 Who knows maybe people will read your blog and be forever changed! I know that I am!

    Hope everything is good with you!

    • sarahshellock March 1, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

      Thanks so much Amanda! I love talking about important issues and really hope that the tone can become less hateful so more people will take an interest.

      We are doing great! How are you??

      • Amanda Behrens March 5, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

        I’m doing well thanks! I’m back at school for a Masters in Business and Project Management. Just started this semester so I have a few years of school ahead of me again. I miss your family though you all were always so much fun to hang out with. I’m so glad that you are getting your words out there for people to hear! 🙂 Say Hi to your family for me!

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