As a child, I remember TV viewing being ridiculously limited!
Now for those of you reading this that have only ever lived in a multi-channel world with TVs and Ipads all over the house, then there’s a concept I need you to understand.
One television! One viewing choice!
If you were particularly well off there might be two TVs in the house, but the other one would more than likely be in your parent’s bedroom, so no joy there.
I have not researched the habits of the average 1970s/80s household but based purely on personal and anecdotal evidence, it is clear that parents were in charge of deciding which of the four TV channels would be watched by the whole family. Saturday afternoon was dedicated to football and every weekday after tea (or dinner if you’re reading this down South), the news would be on. After sitting through half an hour of the national news we would then be subjected to Look North with its fascinating stories from the local area!
As a result of our TV diet, my big sister and I cannot stand listening to football commentary and ever since I can remember I have I always turned the news off whenever I’ve had the opportunity.
That was true until…
the various party leadership contests…
I now endlessly channel hop between Sky News, CNN and Fox News (you know, just so I can get a balanced perspective!)
So, if I spend so much time watching the news and have a growing fascination with all things political, then why is there so little evidence of this on my facebook feed?
NB: All evidence from the weeks running up to the American Election is excluded due to the entire ridiculousness of the situation (yes it’s a word).
After doing a little bit of research I have discovered that I am what is known as a snowflake. The meaning of this term is constantly evolving so in this case I am referring to the following definition:
“An overly sensitive person, incapable of dealing with any opinions that differ from their own."
Danglo, May 28th Urban Dictionary
I can see where Danglo is coming from (note the reliable source), but I’d like to put forward my own definition.
Snowflake: A person who would like to be able to express an opinion, ask a question, explore a topic or share a light-hearted joke, without the social media equivalent of a bloke with a sandwich board and megaphone trampling across their computer screen and shouting at them in a very loud voice.
Now, I need to make it clear that there have been some excellent political posts and videos on social media that I have found really helpful and informative. There have also been many where I have wanted to ask a question or make a comment and then I have read the comments threads and decided against it. If I’m taking a stand for a social justice issue or joining the fight for the defence of human rights then I’ll take whatever backlash you give me. I think it’s pretty obvious that that’s not really what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about people just not being very nice to each other (feel free to add that last comment to the “Evidence Kay is a Snowflake” file).
In 2016 Rebecca Nicholson wrote an interesting piece about snowflakes in the Guardian newspaper.
“So if the right are calling the left snowflakes for being liberal, and the left are calling the right snowflakes for expressing offence, and the old are calling the young snowflakes for being too thin-skinned, and the young are pointing out that the older generation seem to be the most offended by what they’re doing, then the only winner is the phrase itself. It’s particularly effective given that there’s really no comeback to it: in calling someone a snowflake, you are not just shutting down their opinion, but telling them off for being offended that you are doing so. And if you, the snowflake, are offended, you are simply proving that you’re a snowflake. It’s a handcuff of an insult and nobody has the key.”
Rebecca Nicholson (2016)
Although I haven’t decided who I’ll vote for, there’s absolutely no question that I’ll vote. I urge you to do the same. I value the privilege I have as a citizen and a woman to make my voice heard in these elections and I’m aware that there are many people in countries around the world that are unable to vote. I just think when political discussion degenerates into name-calling and nastiness then no one actually wins. The important issues get lost and the art of debating disappears.
All I ask is for space for this snowflake to think things through and to make an informed choice based on facts, rather than who is shouting the loudest at me.
In her maiden speech to parliament, Jo Cox said these words:
“While we celebrate our diversity, what surprises me time and time again as I travel around the constituency is that we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.”
If debating ideas without name-calling, asking questions without judgement, and looking for what unites rather than what divides us makes me a snowflake, then I’m genuinely okay with that. I have no problem with people disagreeing with each other, but I think there are more productive ways to share our views and effort should be made to search for common ground.
It would appear that I’m a snowflake when it comes to church as well. It’s not that I want to avoid facing issues and talking through difficult topics, but I’ve watched so many people taken down by “friendly fire” in churches that my snowflake nature is struggling. I also know that there have been times where my own passions and emotions have got the better of me and I have been the one responsible for the "friendly fire". For that, I am truly sorry. As a result of my church experience, I am often hard on myself about my dislike of heated discussions, as if my avoidance of them represents a lack of conviction or demonstrates timidity. However, in recent weeks I have realised that seeking a way to find peace instead of discord or trying to find areas of compromise instead of conflict, is in itself a strong conviction.
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”