Ah, Facebook. Too often you are a forum for politics and ideologies to be slung blindly at others, with no real outcome one way or the other. I am usually not one to put much emotional stake in these posts, which happen far too frequently on my facebook. You see, my friends cover the full political and ideological spectrum, from extreme conservative to extreme liberal, atheist to right-wing Christian to Muslim to Jew to liberal Christian. I am rather open-minded about such matters; I have my faith and beliefs, and you have yours. I won't impose mine, you don't impost yours, we'll get along just fine. Unfortunately, an old college friend of mine made a post that I felt I needed to comment on for some reason, and now I regret it. I've been so upset over the posts that I can't even seem to function normally. As a writer, this post is my therapy. I am not interested in getting in "the last word," and I am not going to be arguing for my standpoint. This is not a discussion, and to prevent this I have disabled comments. That being said, I do hope the friend in question reads this all the way through.
The post in question was a remark against Republicans, of which I am not. To keep a long post manageable, let me say that the discussion which followed quickly became one about pro-choice vs. pro-life. I am pro-life; I have no qualms about letting people know this. This does not mean I'm a weirdo, that I'm going to go kill some doctors or march in the streets with a mutilated doll on a crucifix. I believe that, if you look at the evidence, one has to come up with the realization that abortion is indeed murder. I understand that not everyone thinks this way, and my friend, let's call her Mary, is one of those people. This is fine; my wife is pro-choice. But, until someone actually comes to me with an argument that holds water, I will remain adamantly pro-life.
I very quickly realized that our discussion was going nowhere. And the longer it continued, the more upset I was becoming over it. For a while I wondered what it was about this debate that got to me so much more than others. I've heard all the arguments before, who hasn't? After a while, however, I realized what it was that bugged me so much. It wasn't the debate over being pro-life and pro-choice, it was actually that Mary had casually insulted me, as if it was a normal thing to do and without provocation. She called me "anti-choice," as if I'm some backwards misogynist trying to keep women in the kitchen. I'm a stay-at-home dad. I believe that we should be able to make whatever choices we like, provided those choices don't hinder someone else's basic rights (one of the reasons I'm not Republican or Democrat). I am not anti-choice, I am pro-life. I don't go around calling people pro-death, or anti-life. I still do not know why she felt the need to just fling an insult at me - I thought we were better friends than that! Besides, to someone who is truly pro-life, an abortion takes away someone else's basic rights, the right to choose, to pursue happiness, to be free, to live.
That being said, I think I could have gotten over a minor insult like that, had it not been for the next. Mary, in different words, said that I had no right to choose to be pro-life because I am a male and have not been/never will be pregnant. THAT hurts, and for many reasons. 1) if you're pro-choice, then you need to respect that I can make decisions too. 2) I'm not stupid, uneducated, uninformed, or cruel. I know I cannot be pregnant, but I was there every step of the way during my wife's pregnancy and natural birth. 3) That statement has no purpose in a debate like this. It is not about pregnancy, but about life. 4) If the fact that I am male prevents me from arguing this with you, then pretend I'm a female and continue. Trust me, there are female pro-lifers. Being a woman does not automatically make you pro-choice. 5) The things that go on during pregnancy involve a lot of hormones and emotions (I am not saying women are entirely hormonal and emotional, this is just the truth. It is how their bodies and minds work to cope with the changes that they have to undergo). Saying I can't argue with you because I've never experienced these things is hiding behind them and insulting women EVERYWHERE. 6) The statement is inherently sexist. So what if I'm a male?! I'm also your friend, I have a pretty strong imagination, understanding, and sense of logic, and I care as much for equal rights and treatment as anyone. The last thing I expected to hear from my friend Mary, a very strong, smart, caring, and concerned woman and mother (who also strongly believes in equality) was a sexist statement like that one! How do I even begin to defend the fact that I am a man?
Now, I do not ask for any kind of apology or a continuation of any sort of debate. I'm not even asking that we maintain or dissolve our friendship. As I stated earlier, the purpose of this post is therapeutic. It is simply getting my thoughts out there. I hope that I did not insult my friend either now or during the debate in an way. All I simply ask is that, even if we are debating something, we treat each other with respect. And this does not just go for me and my friend, but for everyone. We should all try to treat each other with respect, especially while we're debating things. Otherwise, the debate gets lost and friends turn on each other. Perhaps we all just need to take facebook a little less seriously and stop using it as a personal soapbox.