NUANCE: sensibility to, awareness of, or ability to express delicate shadings (as of meaning, feeling, or value)
I started drafting this post in response to something one of my friends posted on facebook a few days ago. Alas, this week has been more eventful than anticipated and has left little time for blogging.
Here’s the original post that got my blood simmering:
I realize that patriotism is not a value of progressives, but they used to at least pretend it was. I know I frequently have said that progressives should be more honest about their values, but this disgraceful behavior in Poland is making me rethink that. Perhaps progressives should continue to fake belief in some virtues, as a matter of civility.
The post contained a link to this piece expressing outrage over the media’s rude behavior during Romney’s visit to Poland’s tomb of the unknown soldier and contrasting it with the decorum reporters show in the Rose Garden. The conclusion is that “…this isn’t about asking questions, this is about their hatred for the Republican candidate outweighing their common sense and manners …”
Were the reporters rude and inappropriate? Yep. Does this mean they are a bunch of ass kissing Obama lovers? Nope. Are there any rules of logic under which this behavior leads to the conclusion that progressives are unpatriotic? Not that I know of (Disclaimer: I attended an in-state university).
Facebook is dangerous that way. Broad, harsh, over-stated claims leave a reader few choices. Clearly “like” was off the table for me. My other choices were to ignore the comment or attempt to engage with a thoughtful comment that might elevate the discussion. But, facebook isn’t great at facilitating discussions. It’s more like individuals shouting in the wind – no flow, no back-and-forth, no requirement for listening.
Then, I woke up to this post from the same friend’s wife:
To all my friends on facebook. Please remember that about 30% of U.S. citizens are more conservative and about 30% are more liberal. When you’re posting political views, it’s one thing to positively state what you believe in. It’s another thing to insult or make fun of the people who have differing views by mocking their beliefs. Please just keep in mind that things that make you laugh or resonate with you emotionally might be deeply offensive to others with opposing viewpoints. I assume that if I am your “friend,” it’s because you respect me. If you promise to try not to insult me, I will promise the same. Plus, I won’t delete you for being mean. Thank you.
My kids are going to grow up surrounded by social media and the type of communication it facilitates. I don’t want Son and Daughter to think the only choice they have – and the only level of critical thinking required for complex issues – is to like or not to like. Such thinking only exercises some brain muscles – namely those used for jumping to conclusions. I want them to have a more diverse brain exercise regimen. I want them to stretch, reach, dig, search, ponder, absorb.
And, I think I’ve found at least part of the solution. More facebook buttons. I haven’t worked out all the details, but I’m thinking one or more of the following buttons might be helpful additions to the “like” button:
Feel Your Pain
Leave Room for Nuance
Do you have any ideas for new buttons?