Blanket-y blank blank
Sometimes a writer writes because she thinks she has a pretty clear idea of something and wants to share. Sometimes she writes because she can’t find clarity on something she’s seen or heard or experienced and needs to process with people who matter to her.
This is definitely one of the latter. So I begin this post having no clue where it’s headed.
For all that I love about social media–Facebook, Twitter, blogging, etc.–there’s one piece in the digital patchwork that puzzles me. Why are we–and I’m definitely in the we–so quick to crawl under big, bold, blanket statements? Is it for the comfort of knowing we’re not alone? Is it so we can block out other messages that might confuse the stance we’re taking on a particular topic? Or is it to shut down those twitchy thoughts that suggest we’re less in control than we would like?
That puzzlement has come out big-time following the surgical strike in Pakistan that brought the bin Laden era to a close. Many of the “blankets” have been red/white/blue…some have been black/white/brown…and others have been just black/white. And I’ve watched on FB as we’ve wrapped ourselves in the colors of the tribe(s) with which we identify. Conservative. Progressive. Republican. Democrat. Pro-big-military. Pro-strategic-military. Pacifist. Pragmatist.
What troubles me is when I find myself nearly clicking “like” on a statement that, upon rereading, only speaks to one piece of where I really stand. And when I read a friend’s status communicating a position that surprises or saddens me, because I know that person’s heart, to some degree, and I know it is bigger than that statement.
Some place, in the back of my brain, are the pre-online voices of Patsy Roberts, Arnim West, Mrs. Cathcart, Mrs. Young–Seymour English teachers, all–advising us to be on guard against “sweeping statements and broad generalities.” Clear and accurate communication, they told us again and again, depends on one’s willingness not to settle for the nevers and alwayses. To go deeper. I think I need to re-up in that regard.
Which, frankly, leaves me feeling a little like Peanuts’ Linus. Without the blanket, where’s security? If we give it up, does something better suited to who we want to become appear?
Would love your thoughts.
Photo: beancounter, Flickr Creative Commons