We Can’t Talk: Part Five

This series of posts started due to a difficult conversation I had with my coworker about transgenderism. I mentioned how awkward it feels when talking about “hot topic” issues such as this, and how I resent that awkwardness. I explained that I want to learn how to talk openly and respectfully about these important matters.

But having concluded all this, I would be a hypocrite if I then allowed the conversation with my coworker to remain in the awkward state we had left it in. Here, at the end of this series, I want to report that my coworker and I had a follow-up conversation just a couple days ago. Though, to be honest, we almost didn’t. I saw the opportunity for a private word, and I almost let it pass by. I still felt all the same anxiety about speaking openly, and it seemed it would be much easier to just let the moment pass by in silence. But because of the things I discussed in these posts, I knew that I had to take the chance and see what came of it even so.

And…it was great! I acknowledged the awkwardness of the prior conversation, my coworker echoed those sentiments, and then we spent our time agreeing that we didn’t like things feeling that way and wishing that this sort of communication came more naturally. I made it perfectly clear where I stood on certain stances, but also reaffirmed my friendship in spite of our differences. My coworker did not act surprised or offended in the least, but neither did she try to make any false concessions to my views. We both showed respect for the other’s different perspective.

So yes, this conversation was difficult to get started, but it stopped being painful about two sentences in. I really feel like a great weight has been lifted off. I feel that we won’t have to avoid the elephant in the room any longer. I feel closer to my coworker now that we are both able to be genuine and honest. And I don’t have to worry what my coworker would think if she found out about my opinions. If she raises a social or political point in the future, she’ll already know that I probably respectfully disagree.

Of course, I can’t guarantee that every conversation with someone of different viewpoints will go as smoothly as this one did. My own conversation could have put a real wound in our relationship, but I remain convinced that making an honest enemy would still be better than remaining a deceitful ally. I know that I won’t hate someone else because they have a difference of opinion. On the other hand, if there’s someone in my life who would choose to hate me for my opinions, then that’s something worth knowing sooner rather than later.

I’ll leave this subject for now, but rest assured I will endeavor to continue living forthrightly, respectfully and earnestly. I will continue to express the perspectives that I think matter most, and I will strive to be at peace with whatever attitude is given in return.

We Can’t Talk: Part Four

I’ve spent the last three days saying that we need to be able to talk about the difficult issues of our day without being afraid of one another. Yes, we should be respectful and considerate, but that doesn’t mean we have to neuter our communication. If we feel strongly about something, we should be able to express our convictions with emphasis, but without becoming hostile. We also need to encourage others to know that we can listen to their differing opinions without demonizing them. We should be able to let them know that even if we strongly disagree, we can still view them as a brother or a sister and a friend.

And in that spirit, I think it is only fair that I should lay my own cards on the table. I’ve always avoided being explicit in my political and social leanings, partly because I didn’t want to offend anyone, and partly because I didn’t want to invite unpleasant reactions. But now I feel that those fears are the exact things that are preventing us from having these important conversations in our society. Furthermore, I would imagine several of you have already made assumptions about my positions and perspectives, and if your assumptions are off the mark I wouldn’t want to feel that I am deceiving you.

If my convictions are different from what you expected, if they contradict the image you had built up of me through my prior posts, if they challenge your own perspectives, then hopefully this will help to illustrate my point that even those of differing opinions can still be of value. I expect plenty of my readers will have different feelings on several of the subjects I am about to list out, and I want to make clear that I don’t begrudge any of you who feel differently being here and remaining a part of this community. All are welcome to come here, even if they disagree, so long as they speak with respect.

My Convictions)

I am a traditional conservative.

In matters related to family and society, I believe that marriage is to be between a man and a woman, and that for the good of our children and society, sexual relations should be reserved for that marriage. I believe that both parents should be equally committed to whatever children they conceive. I believe that this return to basic family values would in-and-of-itself eradicate the vast majority of every social ill we see. I believe that the transgender movement is in opposition to basic truth and should be dismissed as such. I believe that pornography is merely another form of prostitution, that it is incredibly harmful to both the individuals who create it and those who consume it, and it should be prohibited. I believe that men and women each face their own unique challenges, and each deserves equal attention. I believe that the life that begins at conception is sacred and should absolutely be protected.

In matters of race and immigration, I am opposed to any notion of white superiority, but I am equally opposed to any notion of white inferiority. I believe that all races should be treated equally and fairly, that none are fundamentally more worthy or more problematic than the other, and none of them should receive special treatment nor restriction. I am proud that my country, the United States of America, has long had the defining virtue of being a haven for the refugee, the migrant, and the poor. Protocol and process are necessary here to prevent abuse of generosity, but I am anxious that we do not lose sight of this noble quality that has so long defined us.

In matters of crime, I believe that criminals should face justice for their wrongs, even up to capital punishment in the most extreme cases. For those who are incarcerated, every effort should be made to reform and educate those individuals, for their own betterment as well as that of society. I believe that we should resist the normalization of both recreational and illegal drugs.

I also believe that we need to take care of our planet, our environment, and the miraculous species God has given to us, but that we should do so in manners and degrees that do not force the poorest to remain in deprivation. I also believe that there are forces trying to undo our religious liberty, to silence specific statements of faith, and that this effort undermines the foundation of our society and must be resisted.


There. I think that covers all the main “hot topics,” and there’s enough opinions there that just about everyone should be able to find something they disagree with! You’ve already had time with this blog to get to know my heart, so does where I stand on these issues align with what you thought of me? If not, are we still going to be able to be friends and explore spirituality and truth together? For the sake of my faith in humanity, I certainly hope so!

We Can’t Talk: Part Three

I’ve talked about the awkward, self-filtering way I tend to approach “hot topic” issues in my day-to-day interactions and how I believe this stems from the vicious manner these issues are debated online. No one wants to be their most forthcoming when they are afraid of explosive anger, personal attacks, or even death threats! However, I have also acknowledged that this probably isn’t an accurate expectation to have of those I associate with on a daily basis. Just as I know that I can still value their friendship even if they have different perspectives then me, I should be able to trust that they can feel the same towards me.

Signals of Prejudice)

However, even if we manage to separate our expectations of the real world from the virtual, we still need to learn how to speak in a way that fosters positive communication. There are certain terms which I have noticed are likely to set people with the opposite opinions immediately on edge. They are things that signify to the other person that you are prejudiced against them, and that is sure to make their interaction with you that much less sincere and constructive.

So, for example, if you are more liberal, and you start throwing out “phobic” terms, such as “transphobe” or “homophobe,” then you are immediately downgrading the conversation. These terms are almost always applied incorrectly. “Phobic” is a suffix that means a person has an irrational, panic-stricken fear of something. There might very well be people who have a panicked reaction when in the presence of a homosexual or transgender person, but I think we all know that this is virtually never the case when this term is applied. It is a stamp put on anyone who is disagrees with liberal movements for any reason at all.

On the other side, some of the more conservative voices have started overusing the term “groomer.” This, of course, is a term that accuses another person of intentionally sexualizing minors so that they may become victims of abuse. This is an extremely serious claim, and it ought to be wielded with an equally serious mindset. Sadly, as with the “phobic” terms being applied to those on the right, “groomer” is starting to be thrown against everyone who happens to have a liberal attitude.

If you use either of these terms thoughtlessly, you are signaling to the other side that you have a reductive view of other people. You are telling them that you will lump anyone that feels differently with you into the most extreme and sinister categories so that you may dismiss them without any real consideration. And maybe that’s not what you meant to communicate at all. Maybe you were just imitating the vernacular that you’ve been taught without realizing how it is likely to be received. If this the case, then you ought to take some time to consider whether you are subconsciously discounting the other person without even hearing what it is they are trying to say. Frankly, we all do this to some extent, so there isn’t any shame in realizing that we have made this mistake and then correcting ourselves.

Though, on the other hand, perhaps you really do mean to categorize the entire side as pure evil. Perhaps you think that anyone who is on the other side of the aisle is not merely confused or misguided. Perhaps you don’t think they have any good points to share, or that they are trying to gain attention for an issue you might have overlooked. Perhaps you genuinely believe that they are all monsters that only seek to harm our society, and that they are past reclamation, and thus you have no intention of having a civil discourse with them. But if you’ve taken the time to read this series of posts to this point, I imagine that that is not the case for you. If you care at all about the trouble we have in communication, like I do, then that would suggest that you hope it could get better. And if you hope it could get better, then that would mean that there are good people on both sides who can approach these heavy conversations with decency and composure if we just start to foster that sort of attitude.

I certainly think that this is the case. And if it isn’t, then the world is much worse off than I realized and horrible things are inevitable!