Sunday, July 18, 2010

I Reserve the Right To Disagree

In our family a heated discussion about any topic from politics and religion to family matters was not considered an earth shattering event. In the end people could agree to disagree - no one was really crazed about it all. No one was peeved to the point of distraction or thinking they had to change their opinion because the other person might not like them or be "friends or family" anymore.

My son and I had worked for a long time at the same place. In that place we had team meetings where all the people involved in a client's care would meet once a week to discuss that care. Those meetings were a lot like my family - we had heated discussions from time to time about what was best for a child in our care. These were not personal attacks, just opposing positions. Often, my son - Don - and I would not agree on a path for treatment. Sometimes the other team members would get uncomfortable. Don and I would find it amusing. One of us would sense the tension and laugh, breaking the ice, and often he would say - "Get over it - this is just family bonding." For over twenty years (although Don was not there for all of those 20) we hashed out excellent treatment for the youth we served and we family bonded. We all learned the art of disagreement and negotiation for the benefit of the population we served. We did not agree, we stated our opinions and the reasoning for those opinions - and then we would decide on a plan. It was never all my way - or their way - and often it was a blend. And sometimes we just agreed to disagree and go with the majority - voting for a president is like that (we are all Americans, after all). It not only was okay, it was fantastic.

We all now meet via a facebook site or phone calls. Ah, yup - all of these "teammates" who were involved in the heated discussions. We just had a reunion - we are having a pig roast next week to celebrate Deb's eleventh year of being cancer free.

Recently I said to an acquaintance that she needed to "Get Over it". I forget that everyone doesn't handle heated conflict well. She was highly offended and for that I apologized. But, I have an educated opinion about the politics of the state I live and work in. I think others are entitled to theirs too but I also think if you are going to endorse someone you ought to investigate their track record and talk to people who might give you a broader base of knowledge from which to draw your opinion.

It is my personal opinion (and this only an analogy) that all Christmas presents look great wrapped up. Mostly you don't know what's in there until it's unwrapped and being used. It could be a kitchen mixer. But - But - But - is it a Kitchen Aid that can handle the pressure of lots of kitchen duties, or is it a hand mixer that you needed for the lighter and fluffy stuff? It's like that with politicians - they all look good making those speeches in their Christmas wrap. It's up to each of us to figure out what's beneath the wrapping and decide which utensil is going to suit us best.

The person I offended doesn't want to be Facebook "friends" anymore. It's okay. We weren't friends we were acquaintances. I have lots of friends and acquaintances and if you can't take the heat, or the apology, or an honest discourse on politics then get out of the pan. To this issue of being "friends" I think Doctor Seuss had a saying:

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind" ~Dr.Seuss

1 comment:

Mary Michela said...

Amen!