Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mouthing Off

Oh, brother. Sometimes I just can't help myself.

I don't know what's gotten into me over the past few days. Usually I try to stay out of political discussions, at least on my blog and on public forums like Facebook. I find there's too much potential for misunderstanding and conflict when you're typing away on a keyboard rather than facing someone and having a discussion.

But that hasn't stopped me from offering all sorts of opinions, on everything from gun control to a bill that would forgive student debt. (My opinion: I don't mind forgiving debt for certain people, like those who invested thousands for degrees in low-wage but necessary professions like art or social work. I don't want to forgive the debt of doctors, lawyers and MBAs. Especially when I didn't go to graduate school partly because of the expense!)

Maybe I really need to just bite my tongue. Part of the problem with Facebook is that it presents you with an issue, usually in just a few lines of text. You may be linked to a single article, but no more than that. And you're tempted to make a snap judgment based on that article or that short summary. It's not really the best way to have an intelligent, well thought-out discussion, you know?

Take the student loan law. The fact of the matter is, the law (summary here) would limit the amount of each payment to 10 percent of a graduate's discretionary income, arrange for forgiveness after 10 years of successful payments, and set limits on interest rates. Which doesn't seem so bad. It wouldn't simply erase student debt -- at least, not initially -- and higher earners would repay more.

Meanwhile, a blog pal posted a link to this excellent essay about the Right's exploitation of diminishing knowledge among voting citizens. I put that on Facebook too, no doubt with the potential to annoy some of my right-leaning friends. (Yes, I have a few.)

I have a congenital need to make people happy. It's one of my worst faults. I hate stirring up controversy when I know it will upset others. On the other hand, sometimes it's important to speak out, and damn the consequences. Otherwise, will we ever get anywhere?

(Photo: Off Tottenham Court Road, Saturday.)


  1. "I have a congenital need to make people happy. It's one of my worst faults. I hate stirring up controversy when I know it will upset others. On the other hand, sometimes it's important to speak out, and damn the consequences. Otherwise, will we ever get anywhere?"

    This is JUST like me. So I hear you.

    I stay off of Facebook so I don't get into trouble.

    Ms. M

  2. In general, I'm careful about political ranting on Facebook, but it doesn't mean I never do it. Recently I posted a Baptist preacher at a Santorum event that was completely over the top (him, not me). It made me so angry when I saw that, and having had some Christian friends who complain about being repressed, I thought it was insightful. Mostly, I wanted them to be as angry as I was--that these are the people who "represent" them.

    I really expected to lose at a friend or two over it, but strangely enough, I didn't.

  3. Oh, and my point being that I vacillate between not wanting to offend anyone and thinking, "screw you all if you're offended--I'm tired of holding my tongue."

    I usually end up in something of a middle-ground...a conflicted state of mindfulness.

  4. I'm like Kevin - varying between needing to get my opinion out there no matter what & just letting things go. Depends on what mood I'm in - which isn't really much of a moral compass is it? :)

    P.S. We owe student loans out the wazoo. And Mike doesn't make nearly as much money as we thought he would in his chosen profession (and our expectation wasn't actually all THAT high). However, we used the money for our living expenses and to help him get his degree, so we figure we owe it. It does make me sad that we will probably still be paying on it when we both kick the bucket...

  5. I loved your post today and I have to thank you for the link to the article about the lack of respect for education. I've passed it on to several people today as this was the topic of conversation at dinner with friends just last night. I, like you try to stay out of the political arena on my blog or on facebook for exactly the same reasons. But, sometimes it just needs to be said!

  6. Steve, I have a question for you. I would prefer not putting it on here. I can't find an email address to send it to you. Could you email me at msk1ell(at)gmail(dot)com.

    I know that sounds creepy and weird, but I promise it is not. It is about my blog.

    Ms. M

  7. I'm careful on FB. Being rather liberal myself, I do have a handful of friends who, while basically lovely people, are rapidly right-wing...

    I think there's a learning curve with social media. In the beginning, it was easy to spot the nuts, and after a couple of "unfriendings", things settled down. While there are still a couple people I know who are, generally speaking, train wrecks, they actually act as reminders to me to watch how I present myself.

    Honestly. Some people just don't know how to party.



  8. I am not going to suppress rationality for fear of "offending"...FB is a self weeding garden, I reckon. There is so much injustice and crazy religious behavior out there now with all of the extreme leanings. Common sense certainly takes a back seat when fear mongering takes the helm.
    Marriage for all, education for all, women's health issues, environmental concerns and changes, honesty and responsibility just makes sense for life on this planet.

  9. first, i really like that photo.

    second, i know what you mean. i usually try not to get into current affairs on my little family blog, but when so much is stirring the air around us, i think on a cellular level, we feel compelled to respond. sometimes i have to just write it down to get the toxic stuff out of me and onto the figurative page.

    but mouth off all you want. i'll be here regardless.

    (which reminds me, last night my daughter asked, "which is correct? regardless or irregardless?" with a shudder I responded, "there is no such word as irregardless." i have a nerver shuddering over that given my indifferent use of caps!)