November 3, 2008

Interesting day--and democracy is still hard

This election has me on edge, and I don't think I am the only one. Last night, SOF and some friends attended an NBA game here in Oklahoma City and watched the Thunder win their first game as an Oklahoma team. That was enjoyable, and also distracting. For a few hours, we didn't worry about the election or the future and just concentrated on watching the game.

This morning, however, it is back. I have done a decent job of managing my frustration by limiting what I read and hear. I avoid the 24 hour cable, and have even limited NPR. I read a few blogs and do what I can to keep some awareness of what is happening, but trying all the while to keep my head up and focussed on what I can do. One of my friends called it a cross between "cautious optimism and sheer terror." Heh.

Today was interesting, though. An anti-abortion group was on campus again with their giant pictures of aborted babies. On the benches close by, a small, but vocal, group of young girls chanted pro-choice slogans. Interspersed in the display were what they called "free-speech boards" where they encouraged people to write their thoughts. I walked through with my headphones on--a clear signal that I was not looking to talk, and checked out the free-speech boards. Not terribly different from what people spoke around me, and my class of students told me later that they found the entire display rather useless. Both sides simply shouted at each other, and there was nothing approaching conversation or dialogue (though one of the writers on the "free speech board" did say that the gory pictures were part of the "dialouge").

Walking through it with the headphones on was a surreal experience of people shouting, watching, talking, and shouting. It didn't feel like anything good was happening. I didn't resent any of the people there, I just didn't see anything approaching dialogue or relationship.

Walking home, I thought about that polarized world and how frustrating that is and what I try to do here on the blog. It isn't always successful, but we try to talk about things with a bit of civility. Those who troll by don't understand that, because they are simply lobbing in bombs, but this little community has had some very interesting conversations over the years. We don't always agree. But we keep talking.

I will hold my breath for the next 36 hours or so. And I will continue to try and make connections with people around me. But right now, I am going to grab a beer and make some dinner.



Larry Smith said...

You try to talk about things with a bit of civility?

You civility extends only to those who agree with you. For those who disagree, you have no civility whatsoever.

Tony said...

I beg to differ.

Streak said...

Those who troll by don't understand that, because they are simply lobbing in bombs, and I might reiterate the point about building relationships. But Larry/Gary/whoever--you don't even try to connect. You just disagree and demand civility.

Streak said...

Hey, just realized that second comment. Hi, Tony!

Tony said...

Greetings, Streak!

Larry Smith, Gary, Charles, Jackie, Harold, whoever you are, its annoying and stupid. Stop.

Engage points and stop acting stupid and you might be on the receiving end of some civility. Or hey, here's a thought, exercise some civility yourself.

Streak said...

Thanks, Tony. Hope to see more of your comments here, and thanks for articulating this so well.

steves said...

I beg to differ, too. Streak and I frequently disagree.

Tony, glad you are back.

JoeG said...

Tony!! Where you been hiding?!?

I also disagree. I am pagan, and Streak and I (and Tony and most others here) have very stark differences of opinion, especially when it comes to theology. I have always been treated with kindness and civility here and have never been made to feel like an outcast.

Streak said...

Hey, you guys--with your civility--seem to have scared the troll away.

Tony said...


Blogging woes, my friend. Blogging woes. :-(

The RP and RP2 may morph fairly soon. Details forthcoming. Thanks for missing me, though!