I’ll get this out of the way first off.
I have no desire to argue with anybody. At anytime. About most things.
I shut down.
Once upon a time I would argue sports, religion, or politics. I’m not sure what happened, but at some point I realized that it was a waste of time. There is no value. I will not convince another person and nobody else will convince me.
There will not be an occasion in the near future when somebody could convince me that Donald Trump would make a good president of anything. No discussion or series of discussions is going to make me change my mind about most of the fundamental philosophies I have.
Nobody will ever get me to like a Boston team.
I don’t participate in the Twitter Hatefest that I see on a daily basis. I read it for information. I read it because I find it interesting. I deal with it because I like finding like minded people.
I can’t imagine acting like one of those closed minded people who paint in broad strokes simply because they are hiding behind their side of the internet.
I have, realistically, had some very good discussions with people I do not agree with. As long as the discussions are honest and not inflammatory, I will not back down. I find it refreshing when two people who do not agree can have a reasonable discussion. We get to have some real honest dialogue and try to see where “the other side” is coming from.
I have family in this world from other states. Some I stay in contact with very well. Most of my family I don’t. My brother is good at keeping up with everybody else.
Somewhere along the road my uncle started texting me about politics. I’m a middle aged man now. I wasn’t invited into most conversations as a child. As time passed, that part of the family became more distant. Deaths and age and all that. They happen.
This uncle recommended Johnny Got His Gun during one of our rare visits 15 years ago. I have respect for him and have always thought him thoughtful. So certain texts from him have really caught me off guard.
My big question is where did Obama come from? Not where he was born. Who bought him?….He divided this country racially and politically.
That was the first text that made me take a step back. It came a couple weeks ago. I’m not sure why that is his big question. I’ve argued that all politicians are purchased for favors. This is blatantly true. But I do not see how any rational person could think Obama divided this country- especially racially- outside of the fact that Obama merely exists.
Obama brought out the racism that has existed from the beginning in this country simply by winning.
I had an aunt from another side of my family who said back in 2008 that she wouldn’t vote for Obama because she “just can’t vote for a black man.” I judged her that day.
I ignored my uncle’s text hoping he had consumed six too many beers that night and it would go away. Then the following text hit my phone last night.
Do you think our current president has caused any racial tension in our country? I do. I see more now than in past years.
He really wanted to discuss this. I didn’t. Anybody who believes Obama created racism is not a person I want to argue with. There’s no end.
I told him what I thought and he told me a story of somebody using the race card where his daughter works when he was disciplined.
I’ve been in management for many years. I’ve disciplined people only for them to accuse me of racism. It’s easy. It happened to me before Obama was elected. The conversation goes like this, “how is you being disciplined for violating a safety rule that you’ve been warned about racially motivated?”
The conversation usually moves into the person asking who else has been disciplined for similar actions to which I reply, I don’t discuss discipline with others.
I don’t know, but I feel as if my cousin might be gossiping.
There are more different races in our country. Believe it or not. Bigoted? Or just blacks?
This is where I started to shut down and get offended. As if my uncle, who lives in the whitest state in America, thinks that I don’t understand the concept of race. That he feels he needs to educate me on the concept.
As I said, I am middle aged. There are many groups in this world who are discriminated against.
As the conversation kept moving, I tried to change to policy. I tried to move away from the gossip and hate speech. So the conversation moved to taxing people. It moved to Bernie Sanders and how nice his message is but the only way he can accomplish it is by taxing people to death. He said, “Ask Lenin how that works out.”
I don’t do condescending well. I didn’t appreciate the “let me explain some history to you, son” approach.
Firmly, I believe that corporations receive too much welfare. That we have a poor system for taking care of the poor. That people need their tax money reallocated to build schools and highways. Trickle down has failed us.
Corporate welfare. Good catch all. Been used forever. Got a new one?
With this I was done. I don’t care if something has been used forever if it has not been addressed nor changed.
I only engaged in this discussion as long as I did because it was family. Because it was somebody I knew. Somebody I had respected. Not an egg on twitter. This was a person I have engaged in real life and expected the discussion to be more engaging.
I understand that he may have simply been playing devil’s advocate, but if that’s the only game being played, it really feels like he was pushing my buttons. Can’t play devil’s advocate on every side.
I’m writing this on a few levels.
One, I needed to. Makes me feel better.
Two, problems are easy to point out. The right should rename their party the Obstructionist Party. I’m not saying the Democrats are better. There is so much to fix and today’s technology has done nothing but expose what was once hidden. Solutions are what is tricky and solutions should be the focus.
Three, I’m trying to understand why our culture is the way it is. Why do we get off on arguing so much. Why can’t we ever concede that somebody else may be right. Even if it’s from a different view.
My uncle and I will be fine. We both will move on and, hopefully, proceed with more caution.
It’s the rest of the world I’m worried about. We’ve painted ourselves into some pretty dark corners as a society. Anybody who blame Obama is kidding themselves. These divisions go back way further than that.
The real failure is in our leadership to adapt to the needs of humans. Instead, the leadership redefined the concept of person to fit what they were doing.
You can tell me I’m wrong. I don’t care. Just don’t expect to get an argument started.
I don’t need them.