A few of my thoughts on the Civil Discourse and why we use it
By now I can safely presume that you all have read the infamous Digest that gets shot into our inboxes every day. I proudly state that up until the writing of this piece, I have only read the Digest twice. The first time I read it was during one of my first weeks on campus my freshman year. The second was during the end of my freshman year, and it was only because I accidentally clicked on it. I was actually going for the delete button.
The Digest, it seems, is a forum for students (and apparently faculty) to express their opinions about Colby or just the world in general. Now, like many things in life, I feel the creation of this so-called “Digest” might have sounded like something phenomenal and even beneficial to the Colby community at large during its prototypical stage. However, at this point in time, I feel that it is nothing more than a glorified Twitter account.
In an ideal world, I would be the first person to say that “Yeah, we do need the Digest.” The idea that a form of communication exists in which the entire Colby community can easily, quickly and effectively communicate is absolutely fantastic. I am in no way against progress or growth, or the spread of progress and growth, especially on such a large and overreaching scale. Unfortunately, it seems that certain individuals have taken over the Digest and perverted it into their own little Dr. Phil time.
People make posts regarding the most unnecessary and really useless topics on feelings they have.
The first time I looked at the Digest, a student was complaining because he double parked his car in the Bobs parking lot and someone bashed in the back window of his car. He even had the audacity to ask the person to come forward and pay for the damages since his insurance would not cover it. I was aghast, mind blown, at a loss for words, you name it. I could not believe that someone, for their own lazy or careless or idiotic reasons, double parked and expected to receive a medal for it. Of course there are going to be consequences for your actions. This person even went so far as to challenge the masculinity and maturity of the perpetrator! Many people would counter with some petty gripe of “You’re insensitive” or “How mean!” but what the individual encountered was a little dose of reality. Reality that probably is not found in his Westchester, Newton or Darien.
What bothered me the most about the entire situation, however, was that the individual went to the effort of making a post for the Digest about what had happened. As if the perpetrator would have casually thought “Oh! I can’t wait to go on the Digest and apologize to this guy!” Instead of, perhaps, taking responsibility for his actions, or maybe realizing that things do happen in life that are not necessarily perfect, the individual whined about it to the entire Colby world. Now that is only one example, and frankly, I could talk about a million more that I have heard about or read, but it seems to me that the Digest is just a way for people to complain about things they don’t like. Last year’s Skirt Day “debacle” turned the Digest into one gigantic, angry, estrogen-filled screech that went on and on about the evils of males at Colby. Now maybe “Skirt Day” was not necessarily nice, politically correct or acceptable, but it happened. And frankly, if you believe that a bunch of random boys telling you to go change is the biggest, most pressing, most life threatening issue present today, then I do not care about your opinion. I could be wrong, but last time I checked there was a famine in Somalia, a financial meltdown in Europe, political instability in the Middle East and raging violence in Mexico. If someone laughs at a gay pride sticker on your door, I don’t see how one stranger’s act of drunken ignorance overshadows all of these crises.
Many people would easily put aside all of these relevant, more important facts and claim that Colby is their community and that they have the right to decide how it should run or act. They would claim that they have a right to change what they do not like and that we all do. That is, we all have a right to try and shape our community the way in which we see fit. But that change is not going to come through a nagging, self-righteous, string of paragraphs which really only help your self-esteem. Real, substantive, quantitative change will come through actions not words. Because, as Gandhi once said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”