Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Essay: On Taking a Side

Scarlett (O'Hara) Butler: "Oh, Ashley, when will you stop seeing both sides of questions?" she asked. But she did not speak impatiently as she once would have done. "No one ever gets anywhere seeing both sides."

Ashley Wilkes: "That's true but-- Scarlett, just where do you want to get? I've often wondered. You see, I never wanted to get anywhere at all. I've only wanted to be myself."

My thoughts: Margaret Mitchell's fictional character Scarlett, the main character of Gone with the Wind, can be admired for her feisty spirit, her determination and her grit. Like Scarlett, there are a lot of bloggers in the autism community out there who are feisty. They aren't afraid to take a side on the vaccine issue, or another controversial topic that exists withing the world of autism. They've chosen their side and it would take quite the suavy tongue or pen to persuade them to change their views.

On the other side there are bloggers a bit like Ashley Wilkes; dreamers like me who just want to be themselves and maybe ignore the larger concerns. In the early days of my blog I did touch on the vaccine issue some, but turned away from the topic out of dismay and disgust of the controversy that existed.

Unlike Ashely, however, I did choose a direction, a positive one. I wished to stay away from most negative topics. I started to write about family life and offer up book reviews and tips about handling meltdowns, etc.

Generally I consider myself open minded regarding most of the controversial issues, but do at times get riled up when I feel like someone is trying to cram their personal belief down my throat. If I try to see things from another person's point of view, I expect the other person to try to see things from my own perspective. As you may well know, it doesn't always work that way and it can be frustrating when a person is so stuck on their own views that they just don't try to listen.

Scarlett saw seeing both sides of a story or issue as a futile endeavor. I, however, see it as potentially helpful. It's good to know where someone is coming from as the knowledge can help one be more diplomatic during disputes. It's also good to know both sides of an issue in order to make an educated decision about what side of an issue to take.

I find that it is definitely easier to see both sides of an issue than to try to change the mind of someone who already firmly believes something. So maybe that's why I haven't written about the da*m vaccine issue recently. Unlike Scarlett I see the futility in taking a side. Most people reading about vaccines already know the issue pretty well, so what I'd have to offer would not be that new to them. I imagine the only thing that would happen is that people who agreed with me would offer positive comments while those who didn't would offer up negative ones.

Of course, seeing the other side of things as I tend to do, it could be interesting to return to the topic of vaccines. It has been quiet around at this blog lately. I wondering about the possibility of potential readers prefering to hang around a opinionated Scarlett rather than a feminine version of Ashley Wilkes. I do have a little bit of Scarlett buried in me way down deep. Should I bring her to the surface? Would it make this blog more interesting? What do you think?


Cassavaugh Family said...

I love this post. So well written. I find that no matter the topic, whether autism issues or political issues or whatever issues there are always multiple deep seated opinions or views. In my perfect world we would all be able to express our opinions and those listening would not be offended if their views differ. I find it very interesting and educational to have honest open conversation about topics and come to an understanding of where each comes from. The key is being able to accept that there are real reasons as to why we often feel passionately about things one way or the other. This is where people get into trouble. Instead of expressing their opinion and why it is more of I'm right you are wrong. I think in any aspect of life we all have to learn that there is so much to learn from others when we simply keep an open mind. We don't always have to agree with everyone but we sure can learn a lot from each other if we allow ourselves to.

I would be completely open to hearing sided views on autism topics. I have some opinions but really this is still a newer area to me and I appreciate knowing why and what people are feeling from all perspectives.

So I guess my opinion here is that we all have different life experiences and there is so much we can learn from each other even when our opinions don't align. We can all agree to not agree right?

mommy~dearest said...

The post above pretty much says it all! I too, have gotten quite sick of the "hard asses" out there who don't seem to be able to accept other people's opinions. You may not think they're right, but they're still entitled to them.

The decision is ultimately dependent on your comfort zone with the topic. I for one, never think information is too much. Any information is good information, even if it makes you think some people are whacko. ;)

Casdok said...

Yes bring her to the surface!

Julie L. said...

Thank you all for your comments. : ) Some of you are aware that there is a small controversy regarding vaccines that popped up in my small community. It's something I have to address indirectly here as to not cause a further rift amongst our families who have a child with autism. I appreciate everyone's support.

Melanie said...

I agree wholeheartedly with your post. I think there are too many options on each side of every debate not to explore whatever is the best choices for you, your family and especially YOUR family member with autism. And those choices should not be attacked by anyone, which we all do too much to one another. Glad I found your blog! :)

Julie L. said...

Wecome Melanie!

Chun Wong said...

Brilliant post and I can definitely see both points of view, Scarlett's and Ashley's. You just have to blog in a style that is you and in a way that you're happy with. Your blog is always interesting and well written.

Although I have strong opinions about autism and treatments, I would never attack someone for their opinions or force my opinions on others and I hate it when people get so "heated" about things - some get very abusive!

Julie L. said...

Thanks Chun Wong. By the way, I did see that you do indeed have strong opinions. I think it's great that you are respectful towards others. : )