Don’t Be Afraid Of Controversy

The last article written here was formed as a persuasive essay arguing that active anti-gay campaigns are terrorist activities; and that the organizations and churches engaged in such activities are, by extension, terrorist organizations. Extreme? Yes. I expected backlash to that article, which I got, and I expected to lose a couple of followers, which I have. Such are the consequences of making arguments that go over and above what is generally deemed acceptable. I stand by it nonetheless. The argument was solid and, although disputed, was made to demonstrate just how urgent the need for equality is. My transition out of phobia also came into play while writing, as being called a terrorist for my involvement in anti-gay campaigns when I was younger actually influenced my many changes of heart. My experience with that is admittedly rare, but it worked for me nonetheless. It drove me to be better, to think about what forced the accusation and make changes. It made me realize that the impact of my hate was powerful.

The impact of controversy is also powerful. When we say explosive things, we get explosive reactions. People get angry, and that sucks, but great progress can come from that. Feelings get hurt on both sides, from the treatment that created the problem to the reaction to it, and what comes from that is education, equality lobbyists, social discussion, and supreme court decisions. Love and tenderness is comfortable, welcoming, and a necessary part of the process – and controversy is also a necessary part.

I have always enjoyed watching debate, studying the arguments and mannerisms of some of the best academic minds pitted against one another. I have been drawn to controversy since childhood. Explosive statements have always made me think, always wanting to know why people are outraged and eagerly watch the effects as they unfold. I’ve seen great change come from it. Progressivism is dependent upon it. Humanism is dependent upon it. The beauty of the human race is that we are all different. What works for some doesn’t for others, and how fortunate we are to have all manner of ways to reach out at our disposal. We have love and tenderness, we have controversial statements, we have extreme offence, and everything in between. We try not to hurt each other, but that’s an unfortunate side effect of voicing views and moving forward as social creatures.

We must not be afraid to speak with conviction. Offending for the purpose of offending is contrary to the principle of unity, and therefore not right; but forming a cohesive argument for the purpose of expression is a legitimate way to communicate. Every day, I come across statements and articles that offend me on a personal level. They have the right to say it, I have the right to react, and those rights go both ways. Do I find arguments that offend me to be ineffective? Yes … but they work for other people. I may fight against those arguments, and that’s all part of it. Communication keeps us going.

Don’t be afraid of controversy. We wouldn’t be where we are without it.

 

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