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I have a confession to make.  I like politics.  A shocking revelation, I know, but it’s true–From the fury and rage of protesters to the bland and bloated debates of the House and Senate, I love every single aspect of politics.  Except morons, but I’ll save that for later.

And so, being a massive political junkie, and a very VERY liberal one at that, I have a tendency to shoot my mouth off faster than Dick Cheney’s gun (Yes, I’m still making jokes about ol’ Dick.)  It’s gotten to the point where I was making personal crusades against the conservatives on Digg.com, doing all the textual equivalents of yelling and shouting, and doing them all in enormous walls of text that nobody ever probably read thoroughly.

But then, something odd happened.  I got pissed at someone for supporting the recent racial slurs being slung at opposing parties, and called them a moron.  And that person pointed out to me that I was doing exactly what they were…only without the racial bit.

Of course, my knee-jerk reaction was to call them a moron in some other way (“collective IQ of a dead gerbil” came to mind), but then my brain shouted back at me that this person was, in fact, correct.  I was a hypocrite.  A massive one.

So I sat down, and tried desperately to remember what it was that people were supposed to do in these sorts of situations.  My memory hearkened back to when I was a child, and there was an episode of Sesame Street where Oscar the Grouch was a little too Grouchy, and had to do some weird thing to Big Bird, whose feelings he’d hurt…”Apologize”!  That was the word!  What a strange concept!

But, being the experimental person I am (Those videos will never be made public!) I dove right back into the Digg comment hot house and said something amazing:

Hmmm. You actually have a point, that was very hypocritical of me. I’ll admit I’m wrong about that…And I will change that by stopping with the insult slinging at the right, since getting Obama to be respected is more important to me than being funny. So, can we both agree to stop insulting the other side?

Bam.  I said I was sorry.  And that was that.

Wrong.  Apparently, being nice after years of being a prick is a difficult thing to do.  It took me a couple days, but I managed to get rid of almost all my hateful comments.  And then, in a discussion in trade chat on WoW, I actually made good friends with…and I’m still not sure how…A hardcore conservative.

This conservative told me he was impressed that I treated him with respect, and in turn, decided to do the same.  He swore, as I did, to stop insulting people with differing opinions.  And we started a regular debate with each other…We’d each present our opinions without insulting, and without clinging to talking points, and we’d both learn a LOT.  (In case you’re curious, I won 3 out of the 5 debates we had with each other.  ^^)

So, I did some thinking…over all the time I spent screaming and shouting and raging and insulting, I don’t think I changed a single mind to my path.  Then, I start being nice, and one week later, I’ve got a friend who’s far more willing to vote democrat than ever before.  He’s still a conservative…but he realizes that the left wing isn’t all bullshit, and that’s a damn good thing.   And, I also learned that the right wing isn’t all bullshit either.

Oh, and for the record…I do still use insults on the internet.  I only save those for celebrities who spread hateful ideas (Coulter, Limbaugh, Palin, etc), since they get more publicity by being pricks, and won’t stop no matter what.  Them, and the TRUE morons who refuse to stay civil when you’ve given them ample chances, and explained how being nice can be a good thing.  In those cases, a scathing insult is precisely what they deserve.

Moral of the story:  “You catch more flies with sugar than with vinegar”.  It’s not just a weird fly-catching proverb.

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