Here’s the thing. I’m stubborn and like to have the final word. I believe truely and deeply that what I have to say is right. My opinion is the right opinion.
As a young kid I would, during said moments of stubborness, set my chin in such a way as to make it jut forward. I would clench my teeth tight relishing the way it felt to clamp my back molars down on each other and lift my chin. My eyes would glare straight ahead, daring you to dare me, daring you to oppose me. Thank goodness I’ve grown out of such poses, ahem.
I seem to have an ongoing struggle between this stubborn streak and my rational understanding of the need for difference of opinion. Difference of opinion leads us to new understandings, builds new ideas and knowledge, stretches and flexes our minds and stops them from becoming firmly closed (uless your opinion is highly discriminatory, then no one wants to hear from you and you can bugger off). I teach my students that being a learner means being able to actively listen to others and take on new ideas and information, to build on them.
I need to practice what I preach.
You see, a friend posted a meme on Facebook that was aimed at Abbott and Gillard in reference to asylum seekers. The thread that followed was several very opinionated people voicing their views. Someone questioned the appropriateness of the meme and I went straight into a rant based on both sides of goverment having appalling policies in terms of the treatment of refugees. I got on my high horse, which stood on a soap box, with a pulpit before it and off I went. I talked about the inhumanity of mandatory detention, of offshore detention, the need to have onshore processing with refugees living and working in our society, contributing to society, being part of society, being welcomed, cared for, and on and on. I pointed out Abbott’s failings. I pointed out Gillard’s failings. I…I had it pointed out to me the the meme was prejudice and made an assumption about the leaders of our major political parties that had nothing to do with their asylum seeker policies.
I was embarrased I hadn’t seen it. I stepped away from the thread. The final word this time was not mine. It was a very intelligent and articulate voice that spoke of the prejudice of the meme and that this has no place in the discourse on asylum seekers. I totally agreed. I had not seen it. I left the thread. Without saying a thing more. I didn’t want to sound like an ignorant bigot because I didn’t see the prejudice origonally. Sometimes, it seems, I do practice what I preach. I listened, my understanding grew from listening.
Here’s the thing, the sad truth of me and my stubborness and my great big fat need to have my oh so right opinion heard. I struggled to leave the thread. It ate me up inside that my oh so right opinion on asylum seekers was lost due to my lack of analysis of the meme itself. I am ashamed to say, I wanted the last word. So badly. It burnt me because on the topic of asylum seekers I feel I was right, both major political parties asylum seeker policies miss the mark. My opinion was right so I should get the final word.
Sometimes, it seems, I do. Ah blog, where have you been all my life.
What about you? Are you able to step back from debate without having the final word or are you compelled to like me?