A Wedge Too Far

Last year wrecked us. Election obsession eclipsed our decency, and there’s no indication we can recover.

Among my friends on Facebook, I count a Reverend and several educators. They’re trained, called even, to open closed minds. The rest of us aren’t. So we took the tactics of fanaticism (Cowboys vs Eagles, Marvel vs DC) and translated it into political discourse. We taunted our opponents, buried them in virtual information that supported our opinions or refuted theirs. We painted our souls in the colors of our team and hurled insults at the opposition.

What I learned: You can’t change someone’s mind by sharing blog posts, articles and memes. You can’t change someone’s opinions by degrading them. You can neither change the world nor be changed by it by belonging to groups of like minded people. Civil face to face discussions, meeting people who hold beliefs contradictory to your own, listening to another’s testimony with an open heart; these are how world views change.

I have deeply held opinions that are political, social, cultural and religious. My opinions have evolved dramatically over the years. I’ve been on both sides of the political and cultural issues that separate us, and my beliefs were unwavering… until they wavered. Want to know how that happened? Come have a drink with me and find out.

My advice: Quit purging your friends list. Don’t burn down the neighboring village. Visit it. You might find it’s your own mind that gets changed. If you insist on being a social warrior, please remember the golden rule. If you sincerely want to change the world, join a campaign, join a church, volunteer, or run for office. Get involved in the real world not the virtual one. If you just want to yell into the canyon to hear your echo, go to Arizona.


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