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I have a Facebook friend (in real life, they are an acquaintance) who feels very passionately – fanatical I might say- about a few topics. And I find the act of posting your controversial opinions on Facebook is very interesting.

For the most part, it is only acceptable for one side of the debate to respond – if someone tries to voice an alternate opinion they generally get lynch mobbed. This particular debate is on abortion – and this person is pro-life. I don’t know if I would ever have an abortion personally (well at this point in my life, I certainly won’t – but had I been faced with that choice earlier, I am not sure what I would have done) – but I have friends who have had them and I support their decision, which would make me a ‘pro-choice’ person.

This particular Facebook debater regular posts articles and opinions that are adamant and makes it clear that his words are fact, and other opinions are not acceptable.   Things like: noone should ever hold the power of life and death over another, no matter the reasons, excuses or justifications.  This statement, after the numerous other posts, makes want me want to chime in with mind opening queries, but I refrain – Facebook debates aren’t pretty.

So I did a status update – not tagged or directed anyone, but puzzling to those that might notice it.. something like “with that amount of conviction, you better be a vegetarian”.  I smile inside – I am pretty sure the person it is directed at will never see it, but it gave me some inner satisfaction.

Then I find out this person is a not only not only not a vegetarian – but they hunt!  And oppose gun control laws!  I am exploding with counter-points and questions – hence this blog post 🙂

How can you feel so strongly about abortion, yet be ok killing an animal?  How is it abhorrent to allow ‘weapons’, such as a Doctor who perform abortions, to exist in our society, but it is a ‘right’ that anyone, however unfit, be able to carry weapons which can kill instantly and indiscriminately?

I actually am dying to ask this person these questions.  But since they are only an acquaintance, I don’t really know how they would respond – so I don’t feel comfortable.   What would the conversation be like in real life?  Is this person as opinionated in an actual conversation, or does social media bring out one side of their personality?  Do they realize what kind of perception they are putting out there to the online world?  Don’t they worry about offending or annoying friends or clients?  If I was to put any counter-point on their Facebook timeline, I not only get their response – but all their friends responses as well.   I saw it happen on this person’s particular timeline – someone questioned the train of thought and the results were not pretty.

I couldn’t bring myself to respond on Facebook (I actually had a response typed once and deleted it before posting) – but as a consummate debater and consensus builder, I had to put my opinion out there.  So there it is.  If you feel like diplomatically commenting, please do – but any extremist, offensive comments will be deleted 🙂

 

 

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I have had the book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey on my bookshelf for years.  Numerous times I have picked it up and scanned it and put it back down.  For some reason, a few weeks ago I felt compelled to read it from beginning to end.

The points that seemed obvious on the previous scans, now seemed insightful and revealing.  I had placed myself high on his scale of personal development before, now I felt like I was lower on the ladder and could see all these habits that I needed to work on.

I am writing about this as background to the one line that leapt off the page and permanently embedded itself in my memory half way through the book.

“Honesty is telling the truth – in other words conforming our words to reality.  Integrity is conforming reality to our words – in other words, keeping promises and fulfilling expectations.”

I find it fascinating that once you find the words to describe a feeling or intuition, the feeling goes away?  I can’t really describe what I thought before I read that line.  But now I know the difference between honesty and integrity and it has changed my behavior permanently.  Neat.

 

We are in the middle of a federal election and I, like many others, am disappointed in the attitude of the candidates, media and general public. Everyone seems extraordinarily critical of every mis-step and the media is focusing on drama and personality rather than policy and real impact.

If each of personally held our friends, neighbours and family members to the same standard as we do politicians… I am actually not sure what would happen. What I am trying to say is that we vilify politicians for making mistakes – with what they say, how they spend their money, the relationships they have etc. When someone digs up a historical transgression or we see a high profile person use questionable judgment people are very quick and aggressive in their criticism. But they are just human. We should seek to understand; context and communication will solve more problems than anger.

I have often considered entering politics. I am drawn to helping people, creating policy and creating consensus. I like to meet people, socialize and am good at public speaking – my family history is full of lawyers and politicians. I spend my free time with my family traveling, creating art and volunteering. Do I sound like someone who should be lynch mobbed in the press at every opportunity? I didn’t think so. And the requirement of a ridiculous tough skin has really scared me off entering public office.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting the BC premier Christy Clark and took part in getting her elected as the leader of the Liberal party of BC. Christy is a friendly, charismatic, honest person. And one of the first editorials I read after she was elected was a scathing article on a decision she made about autism services in BC – very personal and critical of Christy personally and instantly jumping to the conclusion that the Liberal party is full of lies. What? Why? Do you know the history behind the decision? Do you really think good people try to make decisions to piss off as many people as possible?

So back to my original question. Would you insist your neighbour left the community if their marriage ended for all the wrong reasons? Would you disown your child for making a bad business deal with one of their friends? Would you quit your job if you boss had to declare bankruptcy due to family illnesses? Everyone is presented with difficult decisions all the time – in theory we know that learning from mistakes is best way to grow. But god forbid a politician makes a mistake – just one could easily end a career that was founded in trying to help society.

What do I want to hear? How will the Liberal policy changes affect me vs the Conservative ones. Not how many out-of-context remarks Harper or Ignatieff have made. I am interested in all of their personal lives – but I want the whole story: how they dealt with challenged and mistakes as well as their illustrious history of successes. I want them to take risks politically and try to make change – and be able to explain their logic. I want them to lead sometimes, and then I want them to listen to Canadians and feel safe changing their mind. Our current expectations and media coverage patterns reinforce a society of sheeple – and I hate it.

I want to go into politics and change it. But if the media doesn’t like the sounds of my voice, how much of a chance would I have? Would I be able to communicate my choices and reasons?  On the Christy Clark campaign I was truly surprised at the cut-throat competitive attitude between previously cooperative Liberals. Friends may still be friends, but on the campaign trail they were all about personal jabs and degrading the opponent. And I don’t mean the leadership contenders – but all their assistants and supporters.

Politics should be about cooperation and transparency. And believe or not – it starts with you, not the leaders. Read the stories that support open communication – don’t buy the magazines that pit one leader against another with bad quotes and visuals. Ask questions, seek to know both sides of every story – don’t jump to conclusions. If you want to influence the media – talk with your clicks and your wallet. If you want to influence politicians – get involved in the process and communicate to your leaders about what you expect.  The media and the election campaigns are only trying to entice you to support their camp – be open minded and honest with each decision, they will cater to your expectations.

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