Sunday, January 21, 2007

Some Thoughts on Being an Idiot

I always enjoy receiving comments on the topics I post in this blog, if for no other reason than it tells me someone is reading it. I invite comments in the hope that they are in the same tone of reasonable thought I try to put into the things about which I write. Yesterday afternoon, an anonymous reader left a comment on my post from January 18th, in which I suggested that if blacks want a formal apology for slavery, we ought to go ahead and do it and then move on. This particular reader's comment opened with the sage observation, "You're an idiot."

Well, I've been called that (and worse) before. But if I'm going to be called an idiot, I'd rather it be for a reason that makes sense. The anonymous commenter goes on to say, "President Bush didn't own slaves. I don't own slaves. There's nothing to apologize for. Get over it. Besides, you're a cracker."

With all due respect to someone who actually took the time to leave a comment, this individual completely missed the point. I actually did note that slavery was outlawed in America over 150 years ago, and that the last actual slaves and slave owners have been dead for a very long time. The point I was making was that we need to recognize those facts and move on. "Get over it" was the comment made by a Virginia legislator that started the entire brouhaha and inspired my commentary. "Get over it" is, to me, a poor choice of words for a valid idea; a better choice might be, "Let's move beyond it."

And that was my point. We need to move beyond a constant focus on the historical fact of slavery and work together to create a better future for all citizens, of whatever color. If it takes an apology to help make that happen, okay, let's do it. And then let's move on to tackle the real problems that still exist as part of the legacy of that era.

By the way, if we accept the definition of a "cracker" in my Websters New Collegiate Dictionary as being "a poor, usually Southern white - usually used disparagingly," my commenter called it wrong. I am white, but comfortably middle class, and originally from Pennsylvania.

Which brings me to my anonymous commenter's parting shot: "What puts you on a soapbox?" Well, as I wrote in my very first post back in March of 2006, I'm interested in a lot of things. I'm a pretty opinionated fellow with a lot of thoughts on a lot of topics, as regular readers of this blog know. What puts me on a soapbox? The fact that I have a way to share those thoughts with the millions of people who cruise through the blogosphere every day. I don't expect everyone to agree with what I write...the world would be a pretty boring place if we all agreed on everything all the time. But if you don't agree, and choose to comment, don't drop to the level of insult - say something better. Convince me I'm wrong. Opinionated though I am, I have been known to change my mind about some long as you can convince me your point of view is the better one.

So I'm going to keep writing about a lot of things. Some of the things I write will irritate or anger some readers. But if I've made you think, I've accomplished what I set out to do with this blog.

If not, in the words of my anonymous commenter, get over it.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


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