For those of us lucky enough to live in countries where we have the right of “Freedom of Speech” I wonder why merely disagreeing with someone’s opinion or position on any given subject actually makes us phobic? With the recent actions of the current Administration giving us lots of cause for concern, those of us who have commented on it publicly have been subject to mixed reviews.
Some people agree fully and champion my commentary, most actually have given a positive response. Some however have accused little Xanny G of being both unpatriotic, un-American, and even Obama-phobic, but nothing could be further from the truth. I was even accused of being racist this weekend for disagreeing with the POTUS, but surely merely disagreeing does not make me any of the above?
If I am totally honest it made me realize that I have indeed responded this way before regarding several issues. I used to think that anyone who was not for gay marriage was homophobic until I broke it down and found nothing could be further from the truth. Whilst I am sure there are lots opposed to gay marriage that are total homophobes, there are I am sure, a lot that are not.
Because I took the time to dialogue and have a level of civil discourse with those I had termed as “phobic” I learned that the objections were in reference to same sex marriage in Churches and the state of Holy Matrimony and not the Civil Marriage as provided by the state, for most. Whist I think people should be clearer, sometimes we have to clarify in order to be sure or we never grow as a community.
Before I left the Dem’s and saw how deep the rabbit hole really went I would term every objection to Obama’s policies as either a clear objection to the man or discrimination in some way or another. Of course it couldn’t be just because the policy was faulty and just like these “Xanderphobes” I deflected opinions I disagreed with by creating reasoning for their objections, even though my reasoning was even faulty.
The point it actually becomes an issue is when people cannot simply agree to disagree, and decide they want to either insult you or fight with you as they have nothing better to do. I am sure I have responded in this way, pre-evolution, but because I have evolved I do realize some people are beyond education and will not cast my pearls before swine.
I have been insulted, threatened, had death threats and all the negativity you can imagine but I am still here, fighting the good fight. One thing I learned long ago is that I am not here to be liked, although it is nice when we are. I am actually here to make a difference and if I have to endure a level of negative response in order to make a difference then so be it.
Speaking out really costs in the long run, but surely it is better to be true to oneself and say exactly how you feel rather than join the millions of other sheep who follow blindly and toe the party line, even if they feel it is wrong. We get one life and for me it is an imperative to make a difference and I hope that will be my epitaph. Here lies Xander Gibb, he made a difference in this world.
Whether or not you agree me is not the issue in this case, it is actually about being true to myself and my beliefs. I may not agree with you and your perspectives in every instance, but with dialogue and civil discourse I am sure we can find a point to have a meeting of minds. Sadly some are unreachable but I know when not to “flog a dead horse” and will simply and politely move on.
Whatever you feel about any Politician’s behavior or policies that is fine with me, for if I expect the right to my opinion, surely you have the right to yours too, no matter if I agree or disagree. The art is to be able to function in spite of my opinion on your position and not to make it personal or to question someone’s commitment to the Union. This deflection actually denotes to me a lack of confidence in your position when you go to those levels.
My colleague in fighting this good fight and good friend Dr. Gina Loudon was subject to vitriol recently for commenting on how questionable the Presidents decisions have been of late and she is far more qualified than I to do so. You don’t see her exchanging insults and entering into slanging matches, she states her position and engages in civil discourse to get her point across. We should all take a leaf out of her book when considering our level of response.
We sometimes forget in our zeal to get our point across that “Freedom of Speech” is a two way street and there is an imperative to respect that ideology. Just because others forget this, it does not excuse our failure to respect others whether we agree or disagree as it ultimately shows the world what kind of person we really are.
Editors Note: This article is reprinted from XanderGibb.com courtesy Xander Gibb.
Xander Gibb is a Broadcaster/Writer/Actor/Singer/Comedian with an honest unapologetic response to the world around him. Dubbed the New York Queen of all Media! Check out his debut novel, The Boy from beyond The Ice House.
Photo credit MS Office ClipArt