This is the Rockingham Meeting House, one of the two oldest church buildings in Vermont, circa 1787, used for early town meetings until the mid-nineteenth century, then abandoned and empty until early twentieth century interest in historical preservation. I’ve heard my father spent summers as a teenager helping maintain this, way back when. The window glass is wavy and flecked, and the mullions seem to have more paint than wood.
Meeting houses and churches were once where the people used to come together, to listen and discuss and disagree, to talk things out and move forward despite any disagreement. This no longer holds true.
Many of us now frequent Facebook, or an online newspaper comments, or Reddit, or Instagram, where we can choose what to see and discuss for ourselves, and block or hide what we do not agree with. I think many of us are always certain of our own opinions, and we watch the comments section like the spectacle it is, with a level of disgust.
What happened to talking civilly about differences in opinion? Was there a time, way back when, when it was possible to have a hot topic discussion without derision, without snarkery, or condescension, or insults? I am so tired of snarkiness.
When we either don’t see opposing views because we’ve tailored Facebook feeds and news sources to suit our preferences, or we can’t share or discuss opposing views civilly offline or online, we become ever more convinced that our particular views or ways are “right.”
Are we all becoming more insular, isolated, and ever more unable to see the world from another point of view? Unable to talk with people that don’t share our own views? Is that really a good idea?
What we all have in common should be greater than any of our differences.