On Why I Cannot Say

th (6)

In her post on the Irish Referendum on Same-Sex marriage, Iva Beranek writes, “I knew my view would not be popular . . . , yet, my conscience or something within me has been knocking and demanding I actually write it down.”

I can relate.

There have been many instances in my life, many simple provocations, that have made me want to respond, to say something that might provide a counter-position–a position that would “expose” me as a radical, a weirdo, a fill-in-the-blank nut–and each time I have remained silent, or at least “unexpressed” for fear of being drawn into a pointless debate. I say “pointless” because some ideas/thoughts/convictions are not, in fact, “debatable.” You cannot, for instance, convince the Christian that life does not begin at conception any more than you can convince the Atheist that there is a God. No finely crafted argument can change a fundamental belief, no single rhetoric move all men. Yet we feel compelled to try. And in trying, we defeat expression.

When I read a measured, thoughtful expression of an idea (even one that runs counter to my own political beliefs), I feel myself open up to all possibilities, all humanity. When I hear someone choose their words carefully and deliberately, not with the intent to manipulate or incite, but as a way to most clearly express a thought, I am more likely to stay and listen.

Perhaps it’s time we allow each other to say more and argue less.

Photo Credit: http://bloggingpedagogy.dwrl.utexas.edu/mitigating_silence


Categories: Reflections


Leave a Comment