A Bit of Controversy

SB5-rotunda-SwartsellWow. These past two days have been filled with all sorts of news. In Austin last night at the State Capitol, there was the high drama of a marathon filibuster and a raucous crowd during the debate of a bill concerning abortion.

Then today the Supreme Court passed down key decisions regarding the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8.

Right now, I’m not going to offer my reflection on either of these events. Rather, I’m going to write about what I saw happening around the events, especially on social media.

I have been following both events on Twitter using a variety of hash tags (#sb5, #doma, and #scotus). First, I’m struck at the power of Twitter. Folks from around the world were connecting on issues and organizing themselves, both in opposition and in favor of the various proceedings.

But at the same time I was also concerned. Twitter very easily becomes a self-righteous echo chamber. In 140 characters we can blast out our too ill-defined thoughts concerning very big topics. It’s just impossible to sketch out what you really believe in so little space. And it’s all too easy to block out everyone that disagrees with you.

So today I challenge you to sit down with another person, and have a real conversation about one of these issues. Listen to each other. Be patient. Find the common ground. Don’t talk. Listen.

Finally, unlike my last post in which I encouraged you to comment, I am asking you to refrain from commenting on this post. Talk to a real person.

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