The Likes of Who?
Let’s say I just met you and you invite me over to your place for a chat and coffee. I accept your invitation. In the course of our conversation, though, I discover that I strongly disagree with you on some fundamental issue about which I’m passionate. I’m so passionate, in fact, that I’m tempted to insult you or make insinuating statements to cut you down. Would that be appropriate? Now remember, we’ve just met and neither of us has invested much in this new relationship. In fact, we don’t know each other at all.
I think it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to insult you. Granted, I’m not confrontational by nature, but I just don’t see the point of getting worked up. I’ll just choose to make this our first and last chat and coffee.
In many ways, having a blog that allows comments is like inviting people for a chat. When I stumble upon bloggers whose views I like, I’ll go back for another visit and might start leaving comments. But when I stumble upon bloggers whose views disturb me, I’ll likely not go back to those blogs and I won’t irritate their authors by leaving comments that make assumptions on their character. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way a few years ago; it’s a pointless and, potentially, needless and damaging exercise. So, instead, I’ll keep my thoughts on them to myself. Mind you, if their deeds or views are truly disturbing to me, I might tell my friends to go see their blog for themselves just so that we’ll know who and what we’re up against. And if their deeds or views are literally criminal (e.g., clearly promoting hate crimes or posting child porn), then I might take it up one level and find a way of reporting them to the authorities. But if they’re happy, for whatever reason, that we could be heading towards a Conservative majority in this country, I’d have the smarts not to antagonize them, and this for two reasons: (1) I won’t be able to change their minds, just as they won’t be able to change mine, and (2) they have a right to be happy about this potential outcome and to hold the views they do. You see, I have a thing for civil discourse, and if that’s not possible, I just move on.
I stand on my words in my previous post to the effect that, in my estimation, “a Conservative majority is a very real and sad possibility.” However, I didn’t expect a stranger to come to my blog and infer from my use of the word “sad” that I must be “someone that depends on other peoples [sic] tax money to deem that possibility sad.” And then, after vaguely (and wrongly) accusing me of something and positing it as true, this stranger affects a condescending tone with his closing remark: “Cheer up January 24th will be a bright new dawning from which even the likes of you can benefit as long as you are willing to work for yourself and be assured you will be able reap the benefits of that labour instead of having them taxed away.”
The likes of me?
Uhmmm…… I’m currently self-employed, so I think I’ve established that I’m “willing to work for [my]self.” As for the part of my labour that’s being taxed away, I can’t deny I wasn’t happy to learn that a portion of those taxes were given away to advertising firms to perform no work, but I kept in mind that, although such practices had to be redressed immediately, the sums involved represented a tiny fraction of the whole national budget. That doesn’t excuse anything, but it keeps things in perspective. I was also surprised to learn recently how little I’d save in income taxes if I were in the U.S., so I accept that most of the difference is because my appendix could rupture tomorrow and I wouldn’t have to worry about a steep bill from the hospital. For sure, it’s expensive insurance and the system needs much fixing, but I like knowing that an incident over which I would have no control wouldn’t have tragic consequences.
So, I ask again, what are the likes of me? How much of my blog have you read? For what it’s worth, on what grounds have you reached such a low opinion of me? Because the prospect of a Conservative majority is “sad” to me? Because I don’t have that special kind of amnesia that would allow me to forget the corruption, scandals and feeling of “entitlement” of past Conservative majorities? Because I’ll never vote Conservative even if it’s the last party left in Canada? Because you’re right and I’m wrong and silly to think as I do? I mean… you don’t even know me and I certainly don’t know you, yet you purport having figured out the likes of me? Pray tell! What exactly do you mean? You said it, not me!
I’ll say one thing, though: If this kind of (non-)rhetorical tactic is any indication of what’s to come in a Conservative-run Canada, then “sad” is taking a whole new meaning for me, and you’ve unwittingly made my whole point.