Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Can We Talk?

By Cathy of Alex

Cathy of Alex here! I want to thank the Hadleybloggers for their patience with me. I promised Mitchell, Supreme Editorial Leader of this blog, a story every week and I’ve already failed to live up to my end of the agreement. Really, Mitchell scares me so if Judith could calm him down for me, I’d be most appreciative! Thanks, Judith! I owe you. Now, maybe, I can drive thru downtown Minneapolis again without looking over my shoulder afraid that Mitchell was going to come charging out of the Little Wagon and accost me looking for a story!!!! Not to mention that I want to, personally, be able to go into the Little Wagon again myself without being worried I may see Mitchell in there. It’s the hamburgers doncha know? Trivia Question: At a blognic at that establishment last summer who was the only one of five bloggers in attendance who did NOT order the All-American Burger? Yes-me. I like my mushroom and swiss so sue me and accuse me of being a Red..see if I care..

Speaking of America and Reds..can we talk?

There was time in the not so distant past when to even be suspected of holding certain membership or certain ideals meant you could be hauled before a Congressional Sub-Committee, denied work in Hollywood (maybe a blessing in disguise there), fired, incarcerated, etc.

Now, unless you are a suspected Middle Eastern terrorist interred at Gitmo you probably will not face the same consequences that many Americans did during the Cold War and the early 20th century.

Or will you?

Just because you may not be imprisoned: is freedom to associate, or freedom to speak up, any greater today than it’s ever been?

In some ways, yes. However, I would argue that the doctrine of political correctness serves just fine, in many circumstances, to stifle constructive conversation and put us in a prison of silence.

I’m by no means even talking about defamatory or hateful speech or slander. I’m talking about even raising certain issues in a reasonable manner without having some feared label thrown at you. Some of these labels are: misogynist, anti-Semitic, racist, homophobic, elitist etc. etc.

The minute you even TRY to start a serious dialog or even an expression of concern about, oh say, the Palestinians being perhaps harshly treated by the Israelis. You can sure enough bet someone is going to accuse you of being anti-Semitic. You should just shrug that off and continue but I find that often people just shut down and withdraw. Dialog dies right there. You have the right to remain silent.

I recently got into it via Twitter and my Facebook page with a reader who seemed a tad upset that I dared to suggest that perhaps President Obama would not accept President Ahmadinejad of Iran ’s offer to dialog because Israel was going to object. Of course, Israel will object. It’s not in their interest to see us conversing with a state that is not friendly to them. Likewise, we’d probably object (and we do) if Cuba is talking to China . But, to even mention any of this because certain players are involved immediately gets some on the defensive. I’m by no means slamming Israel . I’m not slamming Iran . I’m just wondering, hey, could some bloodshed and terrorism be averted if we, at least, listen to what the Ahmadinejad has to say? Maybe not. Maybe he’s playing us. What can it hurt to even talk to him? I’m not under any means suggesting we discard our principles during any such dialog. And here’s where I really got into it by daring to hypothesize: If it's true that talking to him will hurt our relations with Israel and, that as we have a nearly constant worry of doing so, it seems reasonable for me to suggest that doesn’t it appear in a way that Israel dictates the terms of our relationships in the Middle East? Are we supposed to do what is in OUR best interests or in the interests of our allies? Are they different interests? Should they be? I’m just trying to have an honest and open debate about those questions and here it comes-the labeling.

When’s the last time you had an unheated discussion about gender roles and sexuality outside of the group of friends and family that you may know already agree with you? I can’t remember either. If you dare to suggest that, perhaps, children who are raised in single parent homes or homes with unmarried parents or homes with two parents of the same gender, may have trouble relating to the unrepresented gender later in life not to mention they may have no concept of what a healthy marriage is (mark me: the divorce rate will come down eventually. Why? No one will be getting married) you are accused of being “unenlightened” a “throwback” “medieval” “homophobic” “out of touch”

For all the talk these days about “dialog” how often do you see that really happening? I think reason has gone straight out the window. Many have no concept of the fact that to claim faith does not mean you do not have reason. I know rhetoric is a lost art in desperate need of reclamation. All this talk of feeling and emotions and being as inoffensive to as many people as possible and pushing abstract concepts in our schools has led us to this point. We are a nation of people with no grasp of facts or reality or how to converse with anyone outside of our own mirror. It’s all about “me” and “my feelings”. If you agree, great. If not, get lost..

To some: “dialog” means we’ll talk, you’ll listen to my side, and you will agree to my terms when we are done. To me: “dialog” means I will politely listen to your side and hope you politely listen to mine and perhaps we can reach some compromise unless you propose something that I cannot in all conscience agree to. Then, we will not agree in total but maybe we can still part on friendly terms and go eat a hamburger together sometime (you are buying-LOL!)

I know in the Roman Catholic Church, and I can’t close this post without bringing it up, there are many who think they can change the teachings of Holy Mother Church if they can just raise their “issues” and we can all talk about it. Then, in a fine display of losing his mind to Satan, the Holy Father is suddenly going to overturn centuries of teachings to accommodate their positions (By the way, there are teachings that not even the Pope has the authority to overturn. In his humility, he knows this). What I continually find amusing is that this group of unhappy “catholics” fails to realize that this is what they are: THEIR issues. Me: I’m just fine and happy with what Holy Church teaches but this group in their selfishness wants me to live in “their” faith when I am just fine living in what is supposed to be OUR Faith.

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