Monday, August 12, 2013

New Rules

Clearly, this post, originally written February 23, 2011, apparently escaped the attention of a number of people. I thought I'd repost it to make my position clear...

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Change the Wind is approaching 1000 posts!

It's been interesting because originally I absolutely resisted the idea of putting my commentary in the public domain. At least on the electronically, I've always wanted to write for a newspaper and after doing that for a couple of years, I find that as enjoyable as I thought I would.

But I had no interest in writing a blog, because I could not see myself writing daily (even though that's not necessary) and my opinions are just that, my opinions. What I have learned over the past couple of years or so, is that my opinions are as valid - and on occasion - just as valid as anyone else's. And so I've enjoyed this and I hope you have as well.

Now its time for a little change. No, CTW isn't ending. My work at CitySquare is teaching me far too much for that. I hope, that as my role in the organization evolves that my perspective will grow and mature as well.

But I am going to make a change with regard to comments on this blog.

I am under no illusion that I am right every time, but without patting myself or any other person participating in this or any other kind of journalism, it takes a certain amount of courage to put your perspectives out in the public domain. Especially to do it in your own name. When people know what you think, it colors how they approach you and what they think of you. They may not agree with you, but they read (or misread), understand (or misunderstand) what you say and form their own perspectives of you based on what their take-aways from what you've written. They may, or may not, confront you or engage you personally. They may, or may not, agree with you. But they know something about you and based on whether or not agree or disagree, deal with you from that perspective.

This isn't so with those who like to engage and respond 'Anonymously'. Their friends, family and whatever public they have, may have no idea what they feel inside. Especially if their points of view are particularly ugly, bigoted or negative. In person, they may need to be 'nice' people. And they have to project a facade which enables them to hold down a job or do business with the very people they hold in contempt. Electronic media gives them an opportunity to 'hide' between a thick, virtual curtain. They oftentimes have the opportunity to spew venom and invective in ways that would surprise those very people.

This is not why I started CTW.

My hopes, however naive, was for a forum where public conversation could take place in the 'open'. Where I could put my opinions 'out there' about politics, culture, our social challenges, our faith and, whether people agreed or not, would be able to engage one another in an intelligent dialogue, however virtual. While people disagree, it would be more than regurgitating talking points from the 'echo chambers' we have today, whether those echo chambers be on the right or the left. Hopefully we could inform one another's perspectives and opinions with real information, based on facts and not simply reduce every argument and perspectives with rejoinders that ultimately boiled down to, 'Yeah, well, you mother wears Army boots!'.

Lately, the 'Anonymous' responders have assumed that CTW could be used as a platform to spew invective and attack. Apparently because they have had a pronounced incapacity to deal with issues and opinions presented here by responding with fact or research, or positive information - or even intelligently expressed opinion. I don't owe them the forum. To be honest, I have no idea why they even read this blog. It's pretty easy to start your own blog...I have no idea why they don't.

I realize now, its not necessary for me to continue to provide them with such a forum. There are plenty of other blogs and electronic media designed for those who don't want to seriously and intelligently engage with those who want to read and hear their ideology reflected back to them. If you ask those who really know me, they know I cherish debate and challenging conversation on almost any topic (almost to a fault!). And have no problem talking to someone who doesn't agree with me or whose perspective is different from my own. But I also don't have a tolerance for those who expect me to make their argument for them or who can't sustain debate beyond the first engagement and have to resort to trite, rehearsed talking points and labeling to defend their point of view. It's just not my job to agree with you or help you make your point.

So, from now on - no more 'anonymous' comments will be accepted on CTW. And no more pointless political rhetoric. You don't have to agree, but you'll have to do more than quote Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh to get engage in conversation here. You'll have to use your name - some name. And the more 'made up' it seems, the less likely it will be to be a part of the conversation. Again, there are plenty of forums for mean spirited dialogue to take place...I don't want Change the Wind to be one of them. Besides, if I have the courage to express myself and use my real name, anyone else who engages here out to have at least that much courage.

I hope that doesn't stop too many of you to stop reading. And I hope that doesn't stop anyone who has a serious (or humorous) comment from doing so. It just won't be published anonymously. What our current electronically saturated culture has done, is prove that what many of us have known for a long time: that there is a sub-culture of rudeness, incivility, hatred, intolerance, racism and mean spiritedness

I can't stop them. But I can invite them to share satisfy their need for another 15 minutes of fame elsewhere. They can start their own blog...really. I even promise not to read it!

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