Something I’m supposed to do (and if you look through my blog, you can see that I have done some of this already) is to attract media attention.  One of these methods is to write Letters to the Editor.  I’ve done this several times in the past.  They never get published in the paper, but I do write them.  The most recent one I wrote was to the Cincinnati Enquirer, and they posted it on their online message board (this is not the same thing as having it published in the paper).  This is what I put:

  • I am a UC graduate who will be attending the United Nations’ climate talks in Copenhagen in just a few days as a member of the non-profit SustainUS. As part of SustainUS’ team of 30, I will act as a youth delegate, reminding our policymakers that their actions (or inactions) will have consequences for future generations.
  • I maintain that the Copenhagen climate talks will be of historical importance. Climate change is real; it is dangerous, and it is high time we did something about it as a planet. I urge the public to be cognizant of this issue, and to pressure their lawmakers into action for the sake of the next generation.

At http://cincinnati.com/blogs/letters/2009/11/26/copenhagen-climate-talks-will-be-of-historical-importance/#pluckcomments

That’s kind of inoffensive stuff, right?  Well, right off the bat, three angry people wrote in.  I’ve worked in customer service, and I’m not really sensitive about rude people, right?  But I do wonder what makes these guys tick.  Why all the hate?  And what do these people do with their lives, just sit around on message boards and defame everyone who disagrees with their ideology?  What kind of a life is that to live?

I mean, I’m just a cute and ineffective little young person who wants her policymakers to do the right thing.  I said as much.  People could say, “I support your ambition to make the world a better place” or “I think it’s good for young folks to get involved on big international issues” or even, “You’re a good citizen, going to all this trouble to represent your country”.  Instead, though, so many people just zero in on the phrase “climate change” and then think they have you all figured out.  Imagine that!  Someone who’s never met me in their life and has only read 114 of my electronic words knows all about me, my education level, my political affiliation, my background, and my values.

Due to an inside joke, my mom always reads my entries and thinks I’m pretending to be Michael Jackson because of my false positivity and my generalized statements of affirmation for kids and the younger generation.  No ma’am.  But tonight that’s really true–somewhere in all the hype surrounding Mr. Jackson’s death, I heard him say in an interview, “Don’t judge me unless you’ve talked to me one-on-one.”  That’s it exactly!

The thing I dread most about my line of work is people making assumptions, judging me, and assigning me a label based on their perception of a single thing I say.  I’m a non-controversial person.  I’m not assertive.  I’m a milquetoast, you even might say–I don’t like to put people off or argue with them; I think it’s preferable to build bridges rather than walls.  I’d rather figure things out and solve problems rather than antagonize people.  I guess that’s why I’m working in DIPLOMACY.  That is not to say I don’t have my beliefs and convictions, because I do, or that I won’t stand up for them, because I will.  But that IS to say that I understand that life is multifaceted, with lots of grey areas–and I don’t like to shove my agenda in everyone’s face.

Not everyone thinks like this, though, and they would rather label you as something insulting because you care about the environment (or in Michael Jackson’s case, children) and how it pertains to your personal survival and well being.  Rudeness and meanness doesn’t offend me (judging me does), but it’s something I will never understand.  Where does it come from?  Is it fun, seeing things in black and white all the time?  Do people derive pleasure from electronic name-calling?  Is it satisfying to shove your anger and contempt down the throat of someone who may never actually read your words?  And why did I just waste half an hour trying to figure this out?

The world may never know.

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