|[Rubens, St. Sebastian, c. 1614]|
I nominate St Sebastian.
Anyone who's ever blogged knows about the slings and arrows of outrageous comments. Those arrows didn't kill Sebastian, however. He kept right on speaking his mind, and was eventually clubbed to death for his efforts.
I'm not complaining about any arrows whizzing in my direction. None are in the vicinity, since I haven't written anything about sex, religion, or politics (or the heady brew comprising all three) for months.
I've watched as arrows have temporarily downed friends, however.
I'm not talking about polite disagreement. Differing opinions, charitably expressed, are the lifeblood of civil discourse. Even opinions based on misinformation and lies can be part of civil discourse (who among us has never been misinformed or deceived?), if we--bloggers and blog-readers alike--are willing to change our opinions as the evidence requires.
I'm talking about rants, name-calling, snarkiness, and personal attacks. The pain they inflict is real, even if the shooters are obviously ignorant or unhinged (as nearly all of them are).
I'm grateful to the many bloggers and columnists who continue to write well-researched, thoughtful, non-hysterical opinion pieces. I'm especially grateful to those whose search for truth and wisdom occasionally leads them beyond party orthodoxy--whatever their party--thus laying themselves open to all those archers with personality disorders.
If you intrepid bloggers need a saint, Sebastian's your man. But perhaps you are a saint, willing to take the arrows as an unpleasant side effect of speaking truth. Thank you.
And may God protect you from the clubs.