Monday, October 24, 2016

How We Fight

I've been following a discussion of Question A on Facebook. In case you don't know, Question A is an initiative to get big money out of County elections by providing public funding for campaigns. There's plenty of information out there, for and against. This blog post isn't about the merits of Question A.

It's about how we fight.

Question A seems to have turned into a local battle between Democrats and Republicans. The particular thread I was observing brought out an interesting dynamic. Those who were for Question A, or predisposed to learn more about it, were women. Those who were completely against, were men. (This is not a representative sampling. This is one blogger's personal experience.)

The women had questions, suggestions, gave answers that showed they had listened to someone else's post. The men announced, proclaimed, belittled, refused to accept any evidence that didn't agree with their own. To be clear, everyone entered the thread on their best behavior, but as soon as the actual exchange of ideas began, the difference between the men and the women was stark.
Here's a sample that I was a part of. (My words are in bold.)

What do the teachers prefer? For or against? (woman)

Since this is not going to apply to Board of Ed, I am not sure anyone has asked for an HCEA position. (woman)

Interesting, thank you! (woman)

I must say I have concerns about the incumbent's massive "war chest". It's too bad that this bill won't address that. (woman)

I am hoping HoCoLoCos will prove you cannot buy an election in hoco. (woman)

Me, too. (woman)

This is laughable...when the Dems have a ton of cash in the bank no one says a word, now you're "concerned" about a "massive war chest" give me a break! Further more this won't even take effect until the 2024 elections. PS...when someone is able to gather donations from usually means they are doing a great job. (man)

A ringing endorsement for Janet Siddiqui. I'm sure she's grateful for your support. (woman)

I thought you were talking about a different race. {Deletes earlier comment}(man)

Don't be so quick to dismiss people whom you perceive to be opponents as laughable...(woman)

If you were talking about what I thought you were talking about it would have been laughable. (man)

If you had truly been reading for comprehension, you would not have made such a laughable mistake. (woman)

Later on, another man came along and responded to me:

Nobody reads Facebook for comprehension. Lighten up.

I share all of this today to suggest that these gentlemen are not the best messengers for their message. Well, perhaps they are to other men, or to women who automatically pay them deference. But they showed themselves completely unable to persist in an intelligent exchange of ideas without resorting to negative language and unproductive arguments.

Not all men, I want to stress. I certainly don't have enough evidence to suggest that. Just these particular men.

They seemed to be operating under the illusion that they were going to tell us this brilliant thing, and then we were going to say, "Oh, that's brilliant." When that didn't happen, they got testy. And things went downhill from there.

In closing, let me repeat this suggestion. I think it could be helpful.

Don't be so quick to dismiss people whom you perceive to be opponents as laughable.

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