I come here to get smarter, not to get insulted. I come here to learn about your point of view, and to learn about the world by trying to understand your point of view. I don't come here because I need to be taken down a notch or two. I'm not your friggin' punching bag.
I could care less if you have difficulty understanding my point of view. Try harder. My point of view is just as valid, and just as valuable, as yours is. I don't deserve to be insulted any more than you do because we disagree. I've got no use for people who are unable to grok the difference between disagreement and disrespect. I'm not your friggin' punching bag.
I'm a liberal. Get over it. I'm not unpatriotic, I don't want to force you to live my way, I don't want you to quit going to church, I don't want the terrorists to win, and I don't care any less about "the troops" than you do. Just because I happen to believe in a certain set of political and social ideals, don't go thinking that you're better than me. You're not. On the other hand, you're entitled to believe that paying taxes is bad, that the government is too big, and that church is the only place to be on Sunday mornings. I don't think that makes you a bad person, and I don't think it makes your opinion worthless. It makes you someone from whom I can glean valuable information. I can offer you the same thing in return. I'm a source that you can freely use to obtain information about how some other people think. Just treat me the way you want to be treated. I'm not your friggin' punching bag.
This is my place, just like it's your place. I'm just as valuable to this community as you are - not more valuable, but not less valuable either. My voice deserves to be heard just like yours does. If you don't like my opinion, I'd love to have you tell me why. I wouldn't love for you to tell me that I'm immoral, or that I hate "the toops," or that I don't understand how dangerous some group of people are. Believe it or not, I've been living in this world a long time. I've gathered up quite a stock of different experiences. I've lived, worked, and dealt with people from all walks of life. I've seen people do horrible things to each other. I've helped people deal with some pretty damned bleak situations. I've been in dangerous situations myself, I've been with people as they breathed their last breaths, I've seen what people are capable of, and chances are good that I know as much about how bad people can be as you do. I don't need to be treated as though I'm naive. I'm not your friggin' punching bag.
I've become acquainted with a lot of good people here. Some of them I agree with, and some of them I don't. I've learned from liberals, I've learned from conservatives, and I've learned from people whose political ideology I don't know a thing about. Some of the people who disagree with me in the most profound ways are among the people I've learned the most from. My experience here has been overwhelmingly enlightening. I don't always enjoy the process of learning. Sometimes its painful. Sometimes I have to look at my own views and realize that something I've considered true really isn't. Sometimes I've been able to influence the thinking of other people, and to help them learn something. Sometimes it's hard, but it's always worthwhile, as long as I'm learning. What's not worthwhile is when I find myself wasting time with someone who feels compelled to try and make themselves look good by sharpening their claws on me. Guess what - I really don't care that you know a bunch of great insults. I really don't care that you think you make yourself look good to some group of people if you knock me down a few pegs. It doesn't make a bit of difference to me that you happen to believe that your value to the community is enhanced by your ability to be rude and disrespectful. I could give a flying f*ck that you think it's funny. I'm not your friggin' punching bag.
I like to have fun as much as anyone does. I like to kid and tease, and I think a little good-natured ribbing can go a long way to facilitate understanding between people. Maybe I'll tease you about something - maybe I already have. It's never personal with me, and I never do it to hurt anyone. I do it to lighten up the atmosphere, and if I can see it isn't working, I back off. That's because my purpose here isn't to make you see things my way. My purpose here is to try to see things your way, or at least to understand why you see things your way. I want to learn from you, not be disrespected by you. I'm not your friggin' punching bag.
There are a lot of people here. Pretty much all of them are here to get smarter. Pretty much none of them are here to get abused. Neither I, nor anyone else here, is your friggin' punching bag.