Self Censorship: the challenges of being so &@*% Outspoken!

This is a battle I face more times than I care to admit. Well, until now. A recent incident occured over the social network stream of facebook that sent me into a familiar personal battle of self censorship. For those of you who know me, it’s hardly a secret that I’m progressive in my political and religious views and I broadcast my opinions in a outspoken fashion. I tweet, I facebook, I Foursquare and I just started blogging. Clearly I feel comfortable in broadcasting my life. I broadcast all my interests of the day from posting photos of my colorful dishes (to showcase my love for cooking I posted a photo below)to posting and commentating on news links (as you can imagine, I’m bit of a news junkie).

My friends and family represent a wide range of political and religious views. I have always welcomed debating politics and religion or any hot topic of the day with those who hold a different view than my own. I love exchanging commentary as long as it’s done so in an intelligent and respectful way that can be supported with facts. However, one of personal pet peeves are the common FB postings that many FB peeps cut&paste & re-post that they did not author themselves, like a chain mail. Specifically, I’m referring to the guilt or fear infused ones that make you feel like a bad person or unAmerican somehow if you do not agree with the hate-filled rhetoric. This concept is immoral on so many levels. It plays on the vuneralbility of the “sheep mentality” folks. Many of these postings are based on lies or stereotypes that are not factual plus the “re-post this if you love America…” slant preys on these folks to not add their own original thoughts or bother to fact-check first. Basically, it preys on the less educated to STAY uneducated on what’s going on in the world while pushing propaganda for someone’s else’s agenda. Think I’m over-reacting? You can look at many examples of powerful shifts in political rise of powers throughout history to see that I’m spot-on.

Anyway, recently a family member that represents the polar opposite of my political/religious views, who has a long history of posting these non-factual hate “re-post this” rants, posted such a FB broadcast. Because this person is family, I have maintained a long history of groaning then biting my tongue whenever I read these postings. Another family member that I admire a great deal because she’s well-read, well-spoken and compassionate, is also from the opposite end of my political spectrum. But while we may disagree, we have always been able to discuss heated topics respectfully and intelligently. After a long history of self censorship, I decided to apply this same approach to the family member of cringe-worthy postings. HUGE mistake.

I carefully crafted my messaging to explain my concerns with such postings and articulated the reasoning behind my beliefs, but I also made a point to find middleground by crediting the merits of Pres. Bush’s endeavors to the long journey of the Osama Bin Laden hunt. I ended my response by addressing the idea that we are all patriotic Americans and therefore we are all on the same team. I read responses from her friends and our mutual family members that reflected a firestorm. Ultimately, she felt attacked, others stated I was mean-spirited and somehow I came across as the bully. HUH? When I asked my husband how I possibly went so wrong in simply expressing my views, he said, “sometimes it’s more important to be effective than right.”

So, I deleted my responses and wrote my apology emails to those that seemed most offended then I stayed up til 2 or 3am filled with angst. I woke up wanting to withdraw myself from the world. Here I am again. I’ve been here before…many many times over. Finding the balance of being my spirited, sassy self yet not alienating others at the same time is a BIG challenge for me. I’ve always tried to keep my political/religious views quiet at my jobs so my social network streams have always been my outlet. Now I feel like I’m torn. Again. It’s important to me to respect others and allow them to feel “heard”. But how do I do this if it can be so one-sided. It seems silly to only communicate honestly to my more liberal friends and family. I like mixing it up so either side may learn from the other. We may find we have more in common than dissimilar.

Something tells me I will create yet another firestorm with this blog. Perhaps I should only write my honest thoughts in a hand-written journal tucked away in a night table? Not my style to NOT broadcast- so my angst continues…

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Comments

  1. Ok, my first curiosity of course is who(m)are you talking about? Just curious, not really important though. I feel you pain but we all have that pain. I kept it quiet even from my family that I didn't believe in "god" since 16 let alone Catholicism until oh about 10 years ago. It just wasn't worth the bad jujube from all here in "Kansas". Now it is open to all to express their true thoughts and feelings. It is better but also there is a responsibility to assume that not all of our family and friends can change or want to change to our thinking. Its OK, they too will change but at a lot slower pace than those of us that find change exciting. Some just don't care for us or our feelings, they have lost a lot of humanity in my opinion. Love you always and keep your chin up and mouth open, speaking or not for what you believe. But remember sometimes we are mistaken about others or feelings. Life is a bowl of cherries but some may have a worm in it.loveya

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  2. Oh, God! I SO get this! Had something in a smaller but similar way, just happen to me in regards to the OWS situation. I'm not quite as outspoken or out there with my views/opinions (yet), especially with my family as I know what the result would be. But the older I get the harder it is to bite my tongue and keep quiet. I applaud you for freeing your voice and trying to do it in a helpful, open, non-judgmental way. Sometimes others just CAN'T open themselves to see or hear other views. Just be true to yourself and if you need to let your voice be heard, I'm here & I hear you. I cannot promise to always agree, but I will listen, and I do love a good healthy debate. Good on you, for letting it out there!

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  3. I understand where you are coming from with friends and relatives who are far right parrots of Fox News and Rush. I had to unfriend one who was becoming scary in his statements.I think that you are a good writer and need to keep expressing yourself so the fence sitters might get a hand from you and get off the fence.You may view my journey on my website, http://www.whistleblowing.us If you want to write something about why it is important to speak out about wrongdoing them I can check with the web person to see if we can print it. You may also want to send something to the MIchael Moore open mike. Many of my favorite writers are Irish Catholic and they have spoken out against the church, the Republican Party and other conservative groups. I like their openness and I cherish their views. Good luck to you.

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  4. I have reached the point where I enjoy poking my far right friends with a a stick via facebook. I will post and comment knowing it will get them to froth at the mouth. One of my favorite things to do is point out that radical extremists added "under God" to the pledge of allegiance during the red scare of the 1950's. I like to mention that whenever one of those i love America pledge things makes the rounds.don't worry so much about what all the morons, psychopaths, and mental defectives think, you just keep doing your thing.

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