When No Online Content is Actually the Best Idea

April
28th, 2016
Keyhole - Digital Marketing Agency - Joe Dudeck
Joe Dudeck
President + Founder
Categories: Business Blogs
April
28th, 2016
Keyhole - Digital Marketing Agency - Joe Dudeck
Joe Dudeck
President + Founder
Categories: Business Blogs

It’s the crazy season. Political pundits are everywhere—no longer just on our TV screen but now cluttering our social media feeds. Each day, we’re met with more and more rants about “those people” on the other side. On my Joetography.us website, I recently proposed we spend less time online bashing “those people” and more time engaging in real, offline interactions—sharing a rather humbling personal story on the topic. What say you?

when no online content actually best idea

What if?

What if those people were real people? What if they had real lives? Real jobs? Real moms, dads, wives, husbands, and kids? What if they were well educated? Went to college? Or beyond?

What if those people lived next door to you? What if you worked with them…or they worked for you? What if they were family? Or your family’s family? What if they were your friends—living, breathing friends?

What if those people who protest for what you don’t believe in were more than a faceless, ageless, nameless group you call “idiots” and “a-holes”? Would it change the way you talk about them…or to them?

What if?

When I was 26 I talked a lot about those people. Ragged on them. Ridiculed them. Bashed them. Until I met one of those people.

She was a coworker. Fifteen years my senior and a good work friend. There I sat in her office during one such diatribe, ranting oh so eloquently about the sheer stupidity of those people. How could they be so off? What world were they even living in? Not a world I wanted, and she had to know this. She needed to know how my view of the world at 26 was so refined and so defined. How I’d already figured it out—who was right and who was wrong. Where the line stood and why I’d already planted myself on the only proper side. More than that, how moronic those people were on the other side.

She heard it all from me…until I saw it on her.

One solitary tear started to roll down her cheek. It stopped me mid-sentence and halted my tirade in its tracks. Paralyzed me. What was this? Why was she crying? I couldn’t look her in the eyes while I heard her sniffle.

Then she broke the silence:  “I’m one of those. I had an abortion in my 20s, and it’s still the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Ever.”

Wow. I’d been talking to one of those people all this time and never noticed it. In her, those people had become this person. She was real. A friend. She had a name, a face, an age. I knew her mom. Had met her dogs. She had a background. A story—with a past, present, and a future.

And there, in that present moment, while she was being pushed to her past, my future was forever being altered. It was start of new awareness. The beginnings of self-discovery. The birth of my own personally founded, un-inherited beliefs.

So what if?

What if we got to know those people? What if we already know them? Those Christians? Those gays? Those pro-lifers? Those pro-choicers? Those republicans? Those democrats? Those  {you fill in the blank} ?

What if we spent less time venting about our rights and their wrongs? And what if we spent more time celebrating the chance we all get to protest, rally, and boycott for the views we hold? What if we got off Facebook and instead booked a face-to-face with one of them? What if we swapped stories and shared why we believe what we believe—for the simple sake of contributing…not convincing?

What’s there to fear? That we’d enter a world where nobody’s wrong if everybody’s right. That truth would need to be exchanged for tolerance? That we might just uncover something buried deep within ourselves? That our faith might flounder? Our views stumble?

But what if truth didn’t need our defense to remain true? What if faith, when tested, only grew stronger? And what if making a connection was far more meaningful than making a point?

What if I’m those people? What if you are? And what if those people could become we the people?

What if?

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