Yesterday's post was intended to be humorous. I don't doubt that algorithms could figure out what most people say on Facebook, and do our speechifying for us. The point behind the humor is this: No issues are so black and white that your template for discourse will spit out a useful statement just by skimming a story.
This dumbing-down of discourse is not just present in social networks, but it's also in the news. The NYT says the victories for "the left" now present opportunities to pivot for the right. Well, the victories of this last week are not for the right or the left, and some of it wasn't a victory at all.
In what way are nine people slaughtered in a church in Charleston a victory for the left? Sometimes you can go too far in tallying these things up as scores for one side or another. It was not a victory for anyone, it was a tragedy, for everyone -- everyone who is not a sociopath.
Government shouldn't be in the marriage business. That would have been my decision if I were on the Supreme Court. The net-effect would be the same as what came out of the court last week. I don't see how my opinion about this is left? It's actually fairly conservative.
But I haven't forgotten that our society and those of all other western countries, not too long ago, didn't allow homosexuality to even exist in public, much less ratify their right to marry. It's still shocking to see two men holding hands walking down the street in the city. I don't mind being shocked, I actually like it. It's a reminder that this was a choice we made, to open our minds, to change. The fact that we can do this, so quickly, makes me optimistic about other changes, other comforts we have to give up.
For example, we have to accept that it's okay not to procreate. It's actually a good thing for the human species if there were fewer of us. Let's have a holiday for people who choose not to be fathers or mothers.
Or that people over a certain age are still alive and part of the world, and have aspirations, knowledge, experience, rights and want to make a contribution, too. How is that left vs right? Everyone ages.
Maybe it's time to give up that there is such a thing as "the left" or "the right". That each of us has the right and obligation to think and decide for ourselves. And for crying out loud, just because someone disagrees with you on one issue that doesn't mean they're bad, or that they might not agree with you on others. Remember how much we all have changed in the last few years.
We still have a long way to go, and framing things as a never ending battle between two non-existent forces isn't going to help us. It would be nice if social networks could help us evolve out of this mess. I still think the potential is there. But first we have to have the will to change.