Note: I was actually gonna nuke this because I was having second thoughts a few hours after I initially wrote this, but the prick to who I was having issues with decided to take one last swipe at me by calling me an asshole. So it stays up and now I'm reconsidering whether or not to maintain my workplace friendship with my ex-FB friend.
I can truly understand how people can become passionate about certain issues. If a particular issue hits rather close to home, it's very easy to become passionate about it.
But what if that passion starts to cloud your judgment and makes you become the one thing that you supposedly loathe to see in others?
Take gay rights for example.
I know that there is a large segment of society that is quite passionate and very vocal about gay rights, and for the most part, the ones I've encountered have been respectful about the other points of views on the issue. And those people have been the ones over the past few years that have made me modify my viewpoint on certain things within the gay rights movement that otherwise would have remained the same had I not had those respectful and informative conversations.
But, and this is a big but, there are those whose passion has so fully taken over their sensibilities that no amount of legitimate opposing viewpoints will ever be accepted or even considered. They are so damn inflexible that to make any attempt at engaging them in a rational conversation/debate brings nothing but grief, stress and headaches to the person making the attempt.
A few weeks ago, I made a comment on a now ex-friend's status update on Facebook about the recent repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, and apparently a few people took exception to the comment, including the ex-friend. Which I didn't really mind from her because everyone is entitled to their own viewpoint and on your wall, your viewpoint reigns supreme.
What bothered me the most was that within the minute I hit the "comment" button, the hyper-vigilant swarm immediately began pestering me (like a yapping puppy dog) with the same tired and stale arguments from my chat room years, like somehow that was going to make me change my mind or make a difference. If you're passionate to the point of obsession about gay rights, then reiterating the same thing over and over again while implying that I'm an ignorant fuck who is a bad parent and a homophobe just because I don't share the same opinion as you about gay marriage or the military's DADT policy or even Matthew Shepard, probably isn't going to make me listen or pay attention to whatever legitimate point you might have.
Anyways, it finally got to the point where I had to a powder from Facebook that night, simply because I got tired of being dumped on by someone who apparently was related to the ex-friend in question. Do you know how hard it is to respond to someone who is bashing you from pillar to post because they're related to a mutual friend?
My friends, I was in a classic Catch-22: if I responded in my usual way from days gone by, not only would I probably alienate the ex-friend but I would also have a few problems elsewhere as well. If I ignored it, it would give free rein to the prick who was making the comments to begin with.
I actually tossed and turned over this particular headache because as much as I liked this person, I wasn't finding any way out of my predicament. No matter what I wanted to say, chances are it would come back to bite me in the ass.
In the end, the decision was made for me. When I came back the next day, a few of the comments (mostly mine) were removed by my ex-friend. So in turn, that made it easier for me to unfriend my friend and I removed my remaining posts from the thread in question. Honestly though, I'm not sure how this is going to play out in the long run because there are quite a few issues that will still need to be resolved and I have to be extremely careful on how I go about resolving them.
However, due to the final shot that this prick took (which I wasn't able to respond to but was able read just the same), I don't think that this will be solved to anyone's mutual satisfaction. By her removing most of my posts and not saying anything about the content of what the other person was saying to begin with, she has shown a rather unsightly facet to her character that will cause me to treat her a little bit differently from this point forward.
The lesson to be learned is that while it is okay to be passionate about a particular issue, don't let that particular issue turn you into a bigot and blind you to either other legitimate (non-offensive) viewpoints offered by other people or the highly toxic ramblings of your friends and/or family.
Chances are that if you do turn a blind eye, you may not be able to repair any damaged relationships that stemmed from that blind eye to begin with.
Life is short to begin with. Don't shorten it even further by poisoning the relationships you cultivated over the years because you can't learn to listen with an open mind.