- Whether you consider yourself Republican or Democrat, you are a human being first and foremost. Human beings treat one another with respect. Even though we cannot force another human to treat us with respect, we should treat others with respect ourselves. This means that we don't retaliate with name calling or disrespect and then justify our actions by saying, "He did it, too!". What words of wisdom would your mother repeat to you? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
- If you are perfect, then I have my doubts about whether you are human. This means that I realize we all make mistakes. We all have our lapses of judgment. We all have our "moments," if you will. Before you vehemently chastise or demean someone else, consider how you would feel if someone treated your mistakes in this same manner. In other words, remember Mama's admonition that "people in who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."
- If after considering Mama's advice from #2 you still feel you must speak up, then carefully weigh the size of the stone you plan to hurl against the size of the perceived slight. You know, if you plan on running a steamroller over someone else's enthusiasm for a very small idea, then be prepared for them to ignore the words of wisdom in #1 and to slam even the smallest idea for which you harbor a modicum of enthusiasm. Once you've done that to someone enough times, you really can't be surprised when they attack (rightly or wrongly) every other word that comes out of your mouth, can you? Recollect another Mother's favorite: "If you're going to dish it out, then you'd better make sure you can take it."
- So, let's get up to speed here. If you have difficulty understanding why you should abide by #1 (do unto others as you would have them do unto you) , #2 (people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones) rubs you the wrong way, and #3 (if you're going to dish it out, then you'd better make sure you can take it) doesn't scare you because you're itching for a fight, then I feel compelled to remind you that "you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."
"How can we apply these words to our lives (whether real or virtual)? How can we use our opinions to further a serious discussion, instead of fueling animosity toward those with whom we disagree?" you ask. Hmm, let me see if I can think of a few examples for you.
Vinegar: You #$@#@!# liberal! You don't understand anything!
Vinegar: You @#$#$@# conservative! You don't understand anything!
Honey: Look, I know we don't see eye to eye on every aspect of this issue, but maybe we can take a minute to understand one another's perspective. In the end, we may still have vastly different opinions, but maybe we will have helped one another understand why we think the way we do.
P.S. "Retardicans" and "Dumbocrats"?? You know the answer. You don't really have to ask whether or not this is okay, do you? Well, just in case you're trying to justify the wrong answer, let me help you. . . VINEGAR.