Tuesday, March 25, 2008

When emails get out of hand...

So, my husband's family is primarily of one political persuasion. And he and I are of another.

A recent forward stemmed a quick response from me and an even longer response from him. The relatives already know not to send me emails of a political nature, because I have trouble controlling my reactions. But somehow one slipped through. And it apparently affected my husband because normally he'd actually reprimand me for responding at all.

Sometimes the debates can be inflaming, but when things get heated, I like to think of them as a friendly back and forth banter. Yet, more than one email has stemmed a very negative response with people's feelings getting hurt, which was not at all the intention. This proves that, once again, email is a poor medium. One that easily and quickly gets out of hand.

What was taken as a personal attack was in no way meant to be so. It was intended to state a fact that was part of proving a point, again, intended in a friendly back-and-forth banter...

And, yet, when my husband responds to these back and forth emails, he gives specific information. He states his point, provides facts and sources, and then states information relevant to the receiver's lives that illustrate why his point is correct.

But the responses! The responses are vehement and accusatory. They speak in total generalities. The political party that most relates to our viewpoints is generalized as a whole. In two separate responses, 2 different ethic groups were generalized as part of the viewpoint.

Why can't we argue the issues, people? Why does it have to be general and personal and full of accusations? Can't we just say, "Here is the issue, what is your position?" which is what I thought we were doing? Why does it have to be, "Your political party overall is wrong and hateful, etc. etc."? Why does this impression of the political party we most relate to have to be extended to us? Why think the worst? We don't think the worst of you and your party. We happen to strongly disagree with that party, yet we understand that the individuals making it up are well-meaning individuals.

From your side, you generalize us as hateful hatemongers who just want to offend and hurt everyone. Why can't we all just get along?! Why can't we agree to disagree and argue in the venue of friendly banter?! Why does it have to be personal?