Deanna Weniger: The soothing sound of my own voice
An echo chamber is a comfy thing. Much like a monastery. When the political winds are screeching and social media feels like a stroll through a minefield laid in a lava flow, there's a self-preserving voice in all of us that beckons us to retreat to safety.
You ask yourself, "Why am I putting myself through this, when I could be curled up in a snug space sipping the warm drink of friends who think like me?"
Like a monk on a mountaintop of peace, all I have to do is close my windows to the rioting rabble and pretend like they don't exist.
Facebook algorithms will let you go to that place, if that's what you want. Unfriend or unfollow anyone who has a different opinion, and you will find your feed a suburb of solace.
Shout out your opinion, and it shall be echoed back to you in full agreement.
But, is that what you really want? The absence of conflict? The absence of debate? Only the ideas and thoughts floating about in your own head?
If Star Trek has taught me anything, it's to have an open mind when meeting a new species. Even if that species wears pink hats representing private parts and contemplates blowing up world leaders. I don't understand a word they're saying, but hopefully there's some common ground beneath all their absurd posturing.
There's a reason I keep my Star Wars friends in my sphere of influence. Sometimes it's just so I can remind them of Jar Jar Binks. Other times it's so I can show them the error of their ways and try to convince them to come over to the enlightened side.
Occasionally, I keep them there just for entertainment. They are so easily provoked. One sarcastic Star Wars/Star Trek comparison and they are blasting me with the electric fingers of the Dark Side.
But I also keep them there because I believe a house divided against itself cannot stand. After all, we both face the same threat: the Marvel Universe has taken its story into our domain. The universe already wasn't big enough for two without adding a cybernetic raccoon and talking tree to the mix. Go back to superheroes, Marvel! You know nothing about interstellar conflict and the space/time continuum.
And, so, I put myself out there. Star Trek is better. I know this. It's a proven fact in my echo chamber. Why do they think Star Wars rules?
Sometimes we make headway agreeing that the quality of the prequel trilogy is on par with the even-numbered Star Trek movies. We've both made mistakes, Deep Space Nine's alternate universe being one of them.
It's tough. They can be mean. Nobody likes being called a pointy-eared Vulcan.
But, if I shoved them all out the airlock, I'd just be left to ponder the endless vacuum of space.
Conflict, when paired with civility, can make for some very lively conversations. And if they could put down their light saber and I could holster my phaser, we might actually find a way to defeat Star Lord together.
That is the ultimate goal, right?