Sunday, February 11, 2007

Let’s Talk Genealogy

Let’s Talk Genealogy

Please indulge me for a moment; allow me to take off the rubber nose, big shoes and my class-clown image to discuss a serious matter with you. As we are all aware our nation is currently embroiled in a constitutional crisis and once more our soldiers and sailors are risking their lives under foreign skies. First let me ask all of yall to pray to your God in whatever form you believe he takes for the quick resolution of this foreign crisis with as little loss of life as possible on both sides. For whatever reasons we wage this war justified or unjustified let us hope it ends soon, then we can debate its merits and motivations.

That leads into my second subject. I understand that passion; tempers and suspicions are running very high at the moment. I will not lecture you on the pros or cons or our current constitutional crisis, that would not be appropriate. Instead I ask that we all try to remember that these chats are set up for Genealogical Research. There are separate chats set up for political debate. I frequently attend them myself when the desire to discuss the day’s events overtakes me. The rules are a little looser there and discussions more intense, I suspect because of the confrontational nature of the subjects.

I am pointing this out with the hope that we can at least restrict the number of nongenealogical discussions that erupt in “our” chats. Those of you who know me, know that I am not a stickler for the rules. I like to play, almost always willing to discuss eating, sports or any other subject or to just make jokes and play wavs. So please don’t misunderstand me, I am not discouraging the bonding of friendship that in my opinion makes our rooms the best on AOL, but I am concerned about the growing numbers of heated nongenealogical discussions going on in the rooms. I fear that the general tone of these discussions, the apparent lack of respect for each other may erode the bonds of friendship and mutual respect that our rooms have always been known for.

Yes we are all adults with strong opinions. Yes, we have the right to express them, BUT we are also friends, cousins and friends of cousins. Lets try to respect each other and think twice before offering an angry or insulting word.

January is the birth of a New Year, the last of this millennium. Lets put aside our old anger and try to get along, or at the very least lets keep our disagreements civil. Remember what your mother told you (or at least what mine told me); if you can’t say something nice to someone keep your mouth closed. I would like to state for the record I have met some of my dearest friends in these rooms. They have enriched my life in ways I can never describe. You people, all of you people, are wonderful and very worthy of respect and friendship.

NOTE: I wrote this during the impeachment of President Clinton. Its strange I found myself at odds with people who I really care for over the politics of the day. Sometimes we all just need to step back and consider whether what we are about to say in anger is what we really think. The Cosova deployment continues still as of this writing and still seriously question the reasons and need for it, but arguing with my friends will not answer the questions. As you all know President Clinton was impeached but was not removed from office, so all the harsh words exchanged in the chats between people who were friends did nothing but hurt each other. Its been over almost a year since I felt the need to write this particular column, but I still feel sometimes we need to be reminded.

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