Sarah Morgan

Healthcare Geek.
Professional Communicator.

faith health

Buzzkills, Rodent and Religious Alike

You’re going to laugh, but groundhogs are way scarier close up than you’d think.

Remember my skunk predicament in South San Francisco? Redux with groundhog this weekend. Running down a lovely country road with cornfields and blue, blue skies, I was in a pleasant sort of self-hypnosis with the sun and the rhythm. Till we snuck up on each other.

Neither it nor I noticed each other till it arched and hissed right next to me. I screamed. We both froze. The elderly gentleman in the passing pickup saw it all and laughed.

Total buzzkill. Try getting a rhythm back after you’ve just developed Instant Paralyzing Marmot Phobia.

* * *

But, more seriously in the buzzkill file this weekend, someone I respect surprised me with what I saw (and see) as totally out-of-character bigotry.

It’s hard to act in a way that untangles feelings out of it. But as much as you want to say “you’re wrong, this is horrible,” it doesn’t do any good to turn it into a shouting match. So I politely pointed out some of the errors in their facts. They expressed interest and appreciation.


Except not really.

The conversation functioned in its subtext. What those nice words meant was, they said Those People Were Bad, I disagreed, they recognized that I wasn’t a useful person to talk about Those People with, and we shoved it all under the rug.

It feels like I gave them an easy out to keep up appearances, and all I accomplished was that I won’t be graced with those opinions in future. I wish I knew a response that could truly sufficiently negate the cavalier repetition of untruths.

* * *

Later that day, though, my faith was restored by a blog post. And I can feel your skepticism from here, but I mean it.

Amy sent me to this post on Daily Mish Mash, and if anyone doubts the literate value of online conversation, I want them to read it. The post is on gay marriage, and it is, bar none, the most considered, non-judgmental, sincere, calm, heartfelt conversation between proponents and opponents I’ve ever seen.

If we all acted like Jen’s readers, the world would be a better place.

* * *

(Except for the groundhogs.)


Sarah Morgan

Amy, here’s honest right back at you. After having that experience earlier in the day, and knowing that I do believe differently than you, I jumped directly to conclusions when I read your post. But I am so glad that I trusted you and clicked and read. I don’t think anyone changed anyone’s mind, but it wasn’t about that. It was about proving that it IS possible to have a true conversation, even about issues we’ve all been so primed by the media to be closed-minded about. It made my day.


Sarah, I have to be honest and was very scared when I saw “religious” in the post title. I couldn’t help but think of all my “religiousy” posts this weekend. And then the first sentence “But, more seriously in the buzzkill file this weekend, someone I respect surprised me with what I saw (and see) as totally out-of-character bigotry.” My heart sank. But I was much relieved to read on! While you or many may not agree with me, I wholeheartedly agree the conversation was civilized and thought-provoking which is what a true debate should look like!

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