There appears to be a constant struggle to find a common ground. Especially lately, electing a new president so far has not erased or escaped the dark cloud that looms around everyone whether the cloud represents the pandemic, wearing a mask, getting the vaccine, republicans, democrats, unemployment, black lives matter, metoo movement, or any subject that once broached a clear divide instantly appears regardless of the side you take. That divide separates us on so many topics.
We constantly question our thoughts and feelings. We fear making mistakes out of possible social media repercussion. Because of social media, we are being punished for our past “foot in mouth” mistakes even if today we don’t support the same views we had in yesteryear.
We confuse our constitutional freedom of speech as a passage and a right to overlook demonstrating diplomacy and integrity. Lately, compassion and empathy are hard to find. Is this our new common ground?
The question is why and when? Have I lived in an alternate universe until 2020?
When did we start supporting people who thought it was acceptable to belittle and bully people who don’t see life through the same lens that we do?
Why is she writing this? What does this have to do with common ground?
I earned my doctorate some time ago in Clinical Sexology. As a token of this achievement, I thought it would be cute to have a vanity plate on my car commemorating this. I chose Sex PhD. In the State of Florida, you have to prove legitimacy for having such a plate on your car. They won’t let just anyone have this exact wording on a vanity plate. There was a board meeting at the state capital to approve this, it wasn’t until each of the board members had seen a copy of my diploma was it approved and finally sent to me.
Through the years of driving with it on my car, I have witnessed a clear divide in reactions from drivers behind me in their car. I either see in my rearview mirror big smiles and pictures being taken of my vanity plate or people behind me shaking their head in disgust. There has definitely been a clear either or reaction: supportive or unsupportive.
However; during the past year or so, people have taken their reaction to it a step further.
One person left me a 54 second voicemail stating how what I do for a living is disgusting. Oddly enough, during her ranting she demonstrated that she was ghosting me because she made sure to block her number so her voicemail came through as “unknown”.
She attempted to gaslight me too by stating it was in poor taste and poor clinical judgement for me to advertise this on my car. She questioned my credentials as a mental health therapist. Then she continued her ranting by adding it was bad for children to see this because they read at a very young age. This is not the topic for children she stated. She ended the message with the statement “why don’t you take that shit off your car and get a new tag…you piece of shit”!
This woman hid behind children as her excuse for berating me. Has something changed with regard to children in the car? I thought while riding in the car until the age of 12 they had to sit in the backseat. So if a parent is adhering to seatbelt regulations, how would children see my vanity plate especially when a car is directly behind me?
Also, talking about sex at an early age is highly recommended. Obviously the woman on the “unknown” voicemail will not be doing that at an early age with her kids…which is unfortunate.
Another story happened recently when I was at the grocer. After getting out of my car, I was just about to enter the store when a women around my age told me I was disgusting and so is my license plate. I just kept walking.
I kept walking because my rebuttal comment that came to mind was…you haven’t had sex lately have you?
Regardless of my rebuttal being said or not, what would that accomplish? Nothing besides two strangers belittling one another. How does that help unite us as country?
Freedom of speech is not meant as a way to degrade one another. It is meant for us to understand one another’s point of view and enable us to meet in the middle and find a common ground.
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