A couple of weeks ago I posted an article entitled “An Argument with a Fool,” which I ended with a promise to post the new developments as the “argument” continued after my post (I REALLY thought the lady was going to come to her senses, but she continued to let me goad her…). While what I posted was the complete thread at the time, in the end it was only half of the discussion.
Many people added their input to the thread as “Polly” was very insulting to service members (of which I am one of many). For the most part it was military people that added to the discussion, and Polly became more and more abusive and offensive. Her final argument was that I was not just ignorant, but ugly as well. She never ceased to amaze me throughout the discussion, as she claimed to be a genius and commenced to destroy the English language and all norms of decorum (she’s a high school English teacher in Cranston, Rhode Island).
What I initially thought would be an intelligent discussion quickly digressed (on one side, and only on one side) into a name calling, propaganda assault. I treated her as nicely as I could until my feathers got ruffled, and only then did I get even remotely angry. For the most part, I found it very entertaining; however, I was simultaneously horrified that someone who so enjoys the freedoms protected by this country could be so angry at it.
I ended the original column stating that I would have someone email me the entire conversation, so I could generate a second part to the “argument post” and further entertain you. Alas, blocking me and my comments isn’t all she did to that thread. She posted that I was being blocked, and that I was ugly, and proceeded to delete every comment she made. I spoke with the Soldier upon whose Facebook page this entire discussion occurred, and while he was entertained by the discussion, he relayed that “Polly” had deleted each of her posts on that thread individually.
During our discussion, she continuously relayed that she was showing my statements to her “highly educated friends” and they all agreed with her stand. She went on to state that they all believe I have mental health issues. I found this argument transparent, and without merit. While I am sure there are highly educated people that would agree with Polly’s viewpoints, it’s a tough pill to swallow that all of those she queried did so. Actually, I find that thought terrifying. As we generally have friends that travel in the same circles, and very frequently in the same industry, it’s a scary thought to think that she could find a large group of educators that agreed with her. I believe her opinions to be (and each person I’ve spoken to about it or that has relayed thoughts upon reading the discussion) very skewed.
I have to feel that what most likely occurred is one of her “friends” read what happened and warned her about the trouble she’s inciting in a public forum, and she removed the comments. There have been reports in the news of educators temporarily losing their mind in a public space such as Facebook, and getting in trouble for it. One of my Facebook friends stated to me, as I relayed the discussion, that I should contact the Cranston school board about her comments and I stated that that she was doing enough damage to herself publicly, no need to ruin her career.
I am now sitting on the fence.
While I was entertained with her inane posts, and was perfectly fine with her being completely offensive to my brothers, sisters and I, I am unnerved that she deleted the posts. I find that to be the act of a coward. I’ve always been taught that you own your actions. Well, that goes for your words too. They are like helium balloons at a carnival… once you let them go, they travel randomly and you can’t “take ‘em back.” Upon reflection, I am fearful for her students. If she’s so disgruntled about her country and way of life, what is she impressing upon those young minds she is charged to mold? While I encourage everyone to think freely (and frankly I wish people would do so far more often than they generally do), it is not an educator’s position to poison young minds but to expand them. They are charged to teach the youth to question things they don’t understand and to formulate an opinion on their own… to think critically. If “Polly” is spreading her poison, she’s not accomplishing her task, but deterring from it.
I find myself trying to weigh both sides: Do I relay this conversation to the school board and spare the children? Do I spare the lady and presume she’s other than the poison I believe her to be (and she displayed publicly)?
Weight in. What do you think? Facebook responses are acceptable, blog replies preferred. Either way, I value your opinion.