Now I like a good debate as much as the next person, actually I probably like it more. Sometimes though I just don't wanna. Sometimes it's not appropriate. Sometimes there's no point. Sometimes there's a power imbalance that could mean having it out is a bad thing for one or both parties.
So lately I've been struggling a bit with picking my fights. Particularly when I don't want to have a scrap about whether Tony Veitch is innocent (I believe not), Clint Rickards et all were also innocent (ditto), or everyone on a benefit is a druggie loser criminal (ditto ditto ditto).
I've been finding this particularly tough lately, and I've taken to largely just saying "look I disagree, and I'm going to leave it at that." The trouble comes, for me, when the other person doesn't respect that, and instead starts making inflammatory statements that would in the past have probably riled me into having the fight anyway, against my better judgement. Now though I'm just too tired, so I have been saying "I still strongly disagree" and changing the subject or leaving the room. Still it rankles.
Is it just me or is it a lack of respect shown by someone who wants to have an argument when you don't persisting despite your attempts at peaceful, succint, disagreement? Especially when you are in a position where they have significantly more power than you, and neither of you are going to change your minds, so that way lies danger.
I heard a song on the radio a month or so back with lyrics along the lines of "If you have a racist* friend then it's time for that friendship to end" and it then goes on to say it doesn't matter if they are your father, your lover, your sister, your workmate, etc, you should cut ties. I don't know how practical that is. How does it change anyone's mind to isolate them from alternative viewpoints and experiences? Perhaps I'm just being overly defensive because my dear departed Dad and I disagreed about a lot in the area of race, gender, politics, and all sorts of things. But we still loved each other very much, and he was a great father.
What do you think, dear readers? Do we excise from our lives people who disagree with us on matters we care passionately about? Do we debate with them at every opportunity, possibly to our detriment?
I just don't know.
* When I was listening to the song I was thinking about the sort of grab-bag of negative -isms, like racism, sexism, homophobia (although technically not an -ism) etc.