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I’m sobbing into my Starbucks this morning.

I was unfriended on Facebook this week.

sniff.

To be honest, a small part of me, probably a larger part than I want to admit, was kind of proud.  I disagreed with someone whose opinions were very different from mine anyway, and I never was obnoxious about disagreeing.  I just required that they reason instead of literally copying and pasting their argument from something made up by a committee comprised of people that never had to live in the real world with the rest of us.  I asked that he allow people to make their own decisions about their lives, and that he have compassion for people that are terminally ill.

So I’m probably going to hell.  At least according to the committee.

The part that makes me stand a little straighter is that I know I’m not an obnoxious, ranting, name-calling arguer.  I’m generally informed, I reason, I try to leave emotion out of it as much as possible, and I’m always respectful, even when I absolutely despise the opinions being expressed.  I don’t believe calling someone out as an ass makes them reconsider anything, even if that’s exactly how they’re acting, so I don’t.  I’m a big fan of sneaking in a good logical argument that’s hard to ignore.

But when you have no counter to that logical argument and you’re left figuratively stammering on a web page, trying your best to find a stunning comeback to common sense, I guess that’s when you cut bait and go home.  Unfriend so you never have to question yourself ever again.  So yeah, I’m a little proud, even if it does mean I’m suddenly the bad guy to some people, even people I care about.

You see, I have a problem with groupthink.  I feel like you should own your opinions because you’ve taken the time to examine as many sides of an issue as possible.  If you can’t tell me why you believe something with an answer better than “an authority figure said”, you need to go back and do some research.  Until you’ve looked into it yourself, you should just be listening.  And even after you’ve formed a well-researched opinion, you should continue to listen because life happens every day, which means new information happens every day too, and if you’re stuck like glue to your opinions and not listening, you don’t have an informed opinion anymore.

Listening.  What a concept.

I go to school after work three days each week, and I always pass a union hall on the way.  It has a very large mural, and what they chose to represent the union was an artfully drawn word, “solidarity”.

It’s really such a pretty word but, being me, I really have a problem with it.

Solidarity. Per the Collins English Dictionary, “unity of interests, sympathies, etc, as among members of the same class.”  In other words, “We all think and feel alike”, which isn’t realistic and doesn’t allow for actual reasoning.

Don’t get me wrong – I have nothing against unions.  I have belonged to both the Teamsters as well as another union affiliated with the AFL-CIO.  So it’s not like I’m opposed to unions.  I’m not.  I’m opposed to any person or entity that doesn’t encourage individual thought and reasoning.

You know, thinking.

So I guess the part of me that’s a little bit proud is the part that knows I made someone think, and I made them uncomfortable enough to act – even if the action was only to run away from the logic I was presenting.  And that’s okay because I’m not the only person in this world he will meet that will present him with challenges to his views.  If that wool sweater is itchy for too long, you start questioning why you ever put it on.

I guess I’m the itchy wool in this world.

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