Somehow I became part of a Facebook group that calls itself the Flaming Liberals and states “This group is for inquisitive people who identify as liberal or progressive and don’t mind the occasional bad pun or left-field digression.”
There are less than 200 in the group, and about a dozen who post frequently, often in the form of photos that say a lot, very succinctly.
The one below appeared the day after SCOTUS gave gay marriage the green light:
Lively discussion followed, including comments like “nah…”; “free kick me signs”; “normally I’m a hugger, but I think I’ll pass on this”
But I said “I actually like this one (for many reasons too complicated to go into here) so much so that I would like to save it. Is there a way I can do that?” And got the easy answer, Click on it, select, and drag it to your desk top. That little bit of information is going to transform my life!
What follows is take one on the complicated reasons I wanted the image.
I am working on an initiative, which I am calling “A Better Way” – not coincidentally the name of my blog. Although I have been trying for a few years now, I find that I am not having much success in saving the world on my own (surprise, surprise). There are so many great ideas out there, and so many groups doing really great work and I find myself hopping from one to another, not really contributing a great deal to any of them.
Every lecture, forum, seminar or conference I go to (I think there were 12 last year) sparks new ideas. If only there was some way to put the ideas out there for all to see, as well as groups and organizations that are working in the general area, maybe I could act as a catalyst, not only lighting a spark in Joe or Jane Public, but also giving them a place to go to take their new interest to the next level.
Of course, this is only going to work with the choir, so to speak. The real challenge is to make contact with those who do not see that the world is so full of problems – most notably the climate – that if something is not done urgently, there is the very real possibility that Western civilization will collapse.
And that brings us back to hugs. Here is an opportunity to talk to someone whose ideas are wildly different from yours. Here is an opportunity to say something along the lines of “I know this has been a really bad week for you, and you feel that you have lost some battle. Please help me to understand what you have lost, and why it is so important to you.” If approached with sympathy and a genuine need to understand, I think that a reasonable conversation could ensue. Without saying you are wrong and I am right, you nudge the other person towards examining their motives and justifying their antipathy.
Introducing humor can backfire. For example I find this photo hysterically funny:
I find Jim Jefferies’ take on gun control hysterically funny, but I know gun owners who do not. So it is probably better to stick to non-controversial stuff, like the Bible. (Just kidding!)
Anyway, what I am trying to say is that the only way I can see to make the world a better place is to engage in meaningful conversation with the people you can’t stand. As Moshe Dayan put it: “If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.”
And starting with a hug seems like a good idea.