I love to debate politics and current events. On other people's pages. When I first signed up for social media I made a decision not to sully my own wall/home page with politics, but I have absolutely no problem debating and arguing the topic of the moment on other peoples pages. The way it would usually work is somebody would post a link to something political or whatever hot button issues was the flavor of the moment then I would prepare my response.
I'd digest the article, ponder it, then research it as much as I could. I'd google it, Wikipedia it, searching for facts and figures, quotes and articles that I could use to back up my point of view. I'd carefully craft my response using my new found facts to back up every thought. I'd lay it out systematically, point by point assured that no one could dispute my stunning intellect, my skills of debate. Of course they'd change their mind. Of course they'd come to my way of thiinking. They couldn't possibly disagree.
Of course I was completely, utterly wrong. Always someone would disagree. They'd question my sources, my links, my sanity. They'd ignore large chunks of my ideas, they'd completely misunderstand what I was saying, they'd argue, they'd challenge my credibility. They would not in any way change their mind.
Enraged I'd hammer out a quick response calling them out, blasting through their defense of their initial point, cursing their stupidity. On and on it went until both parties were steaming mad.
Often around this point my friend Sipper would chime in with some off-topic response. He's say something like "It doesn't matter who is President, Jesus is King." Or some other similar thing. It was usually religious and it was always designed to put our argument into perspective.
I kind of hated him for it. Sure, I'd think, Jesus is your Lord but what the President does matters too. Congress, our politicians and leaders make decisions that effect millions of people's lives. We need to study these things, to debate them, to enact change. But there he was spouting off soothing spiritual tripe.
It always ended the discussion. He was like Scout in that scene from To Kill a Mockingbird saying hello to Mr. Cunningham. We just didn't have the strength to keep on arguing after Sipper spoke up. My rage was still there and I'd stay up half the night thinking of things I could have said to win the argument. For that's what its always about isn't it, winning?
I was online when the tragedy in Boston struck. I saw the first few messages go out on Twitter then Facebook and Google Plus. There wasn't much solid reporting then just a few messages about a bomb going off during the marathon. Almost immediately there were commentators ready to point fingers. It's the Muslims said some. Others blamed right-wing militia groups. The accusations fell down familiar political lines and the fighting came quick. Then came the backlash and the pointing of fingers at those pointing fingers. The noise got louder and louder. And louder.
It was all too much. I turned it off. The day was too beautiful. My daughter too lovely and pure. I just couldn't fill it up with so much violence and hate. Instead I turned on some music. At first it was the Grateful Dead with Branford Marsalis playing "Eyes of the World," then it was Fun.'s anthem "Some Nights," over and over again. Finally it was Van Morrison. I played it loud. I let the joy of the music swallow me up. I danced with my daughter as the sun set in our front yard.
I thought of Sipper and his ability to stop an angry argument with simple platitudes. I envied him.
I made a resolution at the beginning of the year. It was simple yet hard, "Be More Awesome" was all I decreed. Part of that directive was to stop listening to the chatter. To pay less attention to the news and politics and allow myself to get swept up in music, and film and art. More joy, less anger. I can't say I've always stayed true to that, but I've tried.
What happened in Boston was a tragedy. And Newtown. And 9/11. And Oklahoma City. And everywhere else everyday of our lives. We live in a world full of pain, violence and horror. My heart goes out to those who suffer. But today and the next and the next day after I am going to turn it off. I will not participate in the ongoing noise. I will not engage the anger. Let there be joy where there is hate. Let there be comfort where there is suffering. Let there be songs to fill the air.
"And the caravan is on it's way
I can hear the merry gypsies play
And the caravan has all my friends
It will stay with me until the end"