You ever have one of those things that gnaws at you in the early morning hours and won't let you sleep- the bone you can't stop chewing? Well, I've had one for a couple of days now, and I'm tired of chewing. So here it is.
I know the world doesn't always agree with me. I try not to take it to heart. And when someone disagrees with me in my blog comments section, I try to treat the subject with respect. I can only recall three times there were ever major "disagreements" on the comment section. The first was during the fabled "What Government Is For" post, when Joshua, "anonymous" and I ended up in a battle over atheism that got snarky at times, but with one exception I don't feel got disrespectful on a personal level. The second was when the "publicist for the great Delaney Bramlett" got after me over who really wrote the Carpenters' song Superstar. Despite being accused of deleting information I had posted- he just looked in the wrong comment section, and I told him so- I kept my cool, and after he realized he made an oops on that point, he never responded again. The third was during the first tilt with the recently mentioned "John Rambo", and he's a special case. (Boy, is he!)
So the other day I was commenting on the blog post of someone I thought respected me, someone who has pimped me as I have him, and someone whose opinion and knowledge I respect, though don't always agree with. He has a certain broad "hot button" issue that I try to stay away from, and this was such a post. There was, however, a certain (I thought) innocuous side point, though, I thought I could safely touch on. I prefaced it with a couple lines which I thought clarified I wasn't trying to tread on his sacred ground. I then looked at the innocuous side point as it related TO ME (as I thought the phrases "I took it.." and, "...as I see it..." made plain. Then I tried (and failed, obviously) to humorously point out yet again I was trying to avoid his sacred cow, because I knew he had researched it thoroughly. What I got in reply started with...
To be honest, the biggest mystery to me in the entire universe is why you still bother reading my blog at all.
This was then followed up with:
Do you "SINCERELY" believe you've earned the right to disagree with me?
Which the only real disagreement with him I expressed in my entire comment was basically I knew we didn't agree on his main point, so I was going to avoid it.
At first, I was mostly hurt by all this, and I let him know that, along with where I thought he missed the boat on my comment. He came back somewhat calmer, explaining this and that reason why he might have taken it wrong. But then, he added...
"Maybe" there was a signal mix-up here. I be lookin' at this later.
As the days have gone by, there has yet been no return response, though he has answered others who were, shall we say, more amenable to his POV. And that's fine. But here's the thing. I'm over the hurt, and have passed on to angry.
I don't HAVE to "earn the right" to disagree with anyone, subject matter notwithstanding. The Constitution guarantees me freedom of speech. It also gives him the right to say what he wants, fine again. But this is a matter of disrespect. My opinions were valid because they were expressed as "my opinions" and they did NOT take away from his opinions at all. I realize that we have the right and the privilege to act as imperator on our own pages. I choose not to, because I would like to see people come back.
Arrogance showing again on the choice of putting quotes around "maybe". As if I was barefoot in the snow at Canossa seeking absolution. I don't need absolution for saying my piece. Particularly when the other person somehow twisted my meaning out of all recognition.
In the end, maybe my mistake was at the beginning of the original post, I said, "You know me..." Maybe none of us know each other as bloggers. I try to wear heart on sleeve at all times. I don't hide how I feel. I figure that, if you've heard from me enough times, you have a fairly good Idea of who I am and how I roll. Sometimes, I take that the other way too, and figure I can be myself in your comments sections. I guess I'll have to revisit that, because there was a disconnect between me and this fellow I never saw coming. And it wasn't the "disagreement" that I tried not to put in my comment, but the level of respect one for the other. To him, for a moment at least, I became an ant on a shoe.
Please, if you comment, do not bash this fellow. This is one thing against a very different background of history between us. If you comment, let me know- do I treat your opinions with respect? Do I ever make you feel like "the ant?" Do I piss you off in my comments on your blogs? Those are the things I need to hear.