I try to maintain a neutral stance on every subject. To name just a few, I am not into nationalism, I don’t understand racism, I can’t fathom the differences between a Republican and a Democrat, I don’t care which team wins, and I refuse to get angry when someone disagrees with my opinion.
Do you know how hard it is to always remain neutral? Very hard. Someone always wants to hear your side of an issue so the debate can begin. Even not having an opinion brings disdain. (You mean to say you don’t care about people getting killed by policemen just because they are a certain color? Of course, I care when anybody dies for any reason and even that sparks a flame. But, it is black people who are getting killed by the police. I point out, that other races get killed by the police too. Shouldn’t we all think it would be better if the police didn’t kill anyone? Wrong thing to say because now I am labeled a racist because I didn’t agree that the police are wrong for killing black people. Not wrong? Didn’t I just say that they should not kill anybody?) Once again, I am called out for my stance. Maybe keeping my mouth shut is a better road.
I think my neutral stance started as a result of being a middle child who always mediated differences between my two brothers. Or maybe it is because my Dad would yell at or cheer for both teams equally while watching Sunday afternoon football. (It is true that we learn from examples.) Or when my uncle got upset because my boyfriend in 7th grade was Chinese-American and my mother had to explain what racism is and told me not to pay attention to her brother. Perhaps it was a WWII documentary I saw some years back in which Catholic priests blessed the troops from their country. The French Catholic priests blessed the French troops and promised them a win because they were on the side of God and the German Catholic priests did the same thing. Uh, guys… both sides cannot win and my guess is neither side has God’s backing.
My neutrality stance was reinforced during the Trump/Clinton race for the White House. My brother (who lived in my house) was actively and loudly in favor of Trump and my neighbor across the street was actively and loudly in favor of Hillary. Both sides refused to listen to the other. They would stand, each on their respective sides of the street, and yell at each other. They called each other names. They insulted each other. She put up a political sign in her front yard proclaiming her love for Hillary Clinton. I would not allow my brother to put up a corresponding Donald Trump sign. (Which of course made him livid because the lady across the street had a political sign. To which I replied, “If she jumped off the Empire State Building, would you do it, too?” He failed to see how putting up a political sign in my front yard was the same as her putting up a political sign in her front yard.)
My brother did a victory dance in my front yard the day after Trump won the top seat. He looked like a football hero who just made the winning touchdown in a Super Bowl game during the last second of the game. He pranced and danced and yelled toward her house, “Take that, you Hillary-loving loser!”
The sign was still in her yard two days after the election, rubbing my brother the wrong way, again. He called the City Manager’s office and asked when the signs should be removed. He was told, the day after the election. Then, he ratted the neighbor out. Whether she got a phone call or a visit or acted on her own, I don’t know. The next day, she took the sign out from her front yard…
…And she put it inside her house in the front window facing my side of the street. Now, my brother could say nothing about the presence of the sign that reflected the opposite of his opinion.
He huffed, puffed, seethed and his head nearly exploded when he saw the sign in her window. I pointed out to him, “It’s not in her front yard, any longer.” This did not make him happy, so he called me a “Hillary-lover,” never seeing that I was not taking either side in the neighborhood political debate, but I was in fact pointing out the childish behavior on both sides of the street.
He proclaimed his intense hatred for the woman and made rude gestures in her general direction whenever she stepped outside to get her mail or pull a weed from her flower garden. Just because her opinion was different from his.
She left the sign in her front window until my brother died some five years later. The day he died, I assume she felt like the issue had been settled (meaning she had somehow won) because the sign came down. If anything this threw the whole debate into bright perspective and reminded me why neutrality is important and rare.
I don’t post rebuttals to anyone’s tweet, FB post, or WordPress blog. I try to keep my opinions to myself and not say anything. The moment I post a reply to a controversial entry, I have announced my stand. Each gesture, smile, and frown places me on one side or the other. It is a lonely road to not participate in the happy ramblings of others who state, emphatically, that they are right and everyone must agree with them. Uh, no. I will not side with you or your opponent.
Even posting this information makes me wonder if I am stating an opinion that I should keep to myself.