I think I say this pretty often, but maybe not often enough.
Thank you for challenging me to not let my initial reactions and emotions be the first thing that I show in a debate. You have helped me learn that when I feel angry or vulnerable, to not lash out defensively but to retreat and think about why I feel these things before deciding whether or not to engage.
You have taught me to listen, to let others talk, that my opinion is not always needed in a conversation.
Thank you for showing me the experiences of people and groups that seem so close, yet are so far from my own.
Thank you for taking me to task when I say something that you disagree with. We don’t always end up seeing eye to eye on issues, but you certainly cause me to reflect more on the topic.
Thank you for teaching me about logical fallacies.
Thank you for giving me assholes to parry with.
Thank you for introducing me to so many lovely and thought-provoking friends. Even if I never meet them in person, they have had a very real influence on my life.
Thank you for helping me become a more expressive writer, for helping me to learn that subtlety and tone are lost in written communications and to be more skillful with my words.
Thank you for helping me be a more mature, thoughtful, well-spoken person in my daily life, and in my face-to-face interactions with people.
Today I got into a passionate discussion with a man about Black Lives Matter, tone-policing, police brutality, protests. He threw around phrases like “ALL lives matter” and “why can’t people just respect the police” and “they’re hurting the cause” and “I’m so tired of talking about this – there are other issues.” Phrases that I have seen you all debunk over and over and over again. Today I was able to respond to him in your voice, with your words. Don’t get me wrong, they are words that describe ideas that I have weighed, measured and ultimately chosen to stand behind. They are ideas that I know have merit and that I want to see shared and supported. But you helped give them to me, and you helped me be able to give them to him.
He told me “I hate debating with you because you always make me think about these things more.”
A++ We did that, you and I.
Internet – there are a lot of things that I have learned from you, and I look forward to tomorrow’s lessons.
Oh, and thanks for all the kittens. In my most dire hour, I know that there will always be kittens.