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"The Trial of the Chicago 7" Puts a Spotlight on How It Can Feel to Debate on the Internet

I don't really have to say more now do I? Just watch the movie and you'll see what I mean, or if you have, you might already know what I mean. But for the sake of "because I wanna", let me expand my thoughts for a bit.


This is going to be as spoiler free as I can make it, but I know that there are those who want to go blindly into a movie so here is a warning for you. I will explain the basic premise of the movie and a few early scenes that set the tone. But if that is too much, just go watch the movie. It's on Netflix, start a bunch of good actors acting goodly, and is a frontrunner for best picture for sure.

So, "The Trial of the Chicago 7" is about several groups of people that come to demonstrate peacefully, but violence breaks out and the leaders of the groups are put on trial for inciting violence. What follows it anything but a fair trial, where especially the judge seems to have already decided their verdict before the trial has even begun. It is here that I feel somewhat of an resemblance to how the tone is set in discussions I'd rather never gotten into.


That is the feeling you get as you begin getting into one of these discussion. You see something that seemingly feels off, you just doesn't agree to, or want to know more about or understand, but as you start to discuss it, you realize that the person you're talking to never had any other intention than to berate you with their opinion, which to them is truth, whatever you throw their way. An immoveable object.


The problem then is to make sure that you don't fall into the same trap. Because whoever you imagine this person to be, wherever on the political spectrum you imagine them being, they exist on where you would place yourself as well. It is easy to slide into trying to convince someone that your opinion is the right one, but that is neither constructive nor will it in all likelihood make that person change or you learn.

So why do we still stand as bull headed as the other, trying all we can to convince them that our opinion is the truth. Well, as with most things, there are a few reasons. You can see it at them movie for one, where there is a urge in them to berate the judge with their opinion just because he seems not to care for it. You can see it in the desperate attempts of Bobby Seale, played by Emmy winner Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, to calmly and within his rights express that he does not have legal representation. At one point you will snap and the discussion will turn into something else. Now to be very clear here, I blame none for lashing out when met with idiocy like this. There is an almost supernatural patience that Bobby Seale shows during these proceedings. I wish we could all be level headed enough to not give in to the temptations of just going off on an idiot.


But nothing is gain from it. I think the bible said it best (yeah, of course I'm gonna quote scripture), "Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.

Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes" (Proverbs 26: 5 - 6). Don't answer the fool. For a discussion should be about being better as people, both you and the people you talk to. But I promise, the fool won't get better until he realizes he's a fool, when you ignore them. Basically, seek out people that you can have an actual discussion with. Don't waste time with people who does not want anything else but to cram their opinion down your throat. I'll even say that don't take this very text at face value. It's a lot more complex than I am making out to be. Use it instead as a basis for discussion, where we together can find some truth in the opinions.

For it is important to not only seek discussions with those that agree with you. Truth is forged in fire. If you never try to understand different points of view, you will never find the truth. There is a great scene early on in the movie where we learn what has been hinted about early in them movie, that two of the defendants, Tom Hayden (Eddie Redmayne) and Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen), definitely don't have the same opinions on things. The discussion isn't necessarily the most civil, but in the end, they have both learned from the others point of view in one way or the other, and inched themselves closer to the truth.


For there is a difference between having a heated discussion and an open argument. It lies in the intent. Do you intent to learn and/or have others learn from the exchange? Good, then you are having a discussion. Even if it can get heated at the end, often the two parts can walk civilly out together. Do you intent to show the other part how wrong they are? Then you might be headed into an argument that will not result in much more than frustration on one or both parts. If you want to stand up against what is right, do that. Make a statement. You can even make statements against specific people, but don't get dragged into an argument with them.


This is a minefield, and The trial of the Chicago 7 shines a light on just how frustrating it can be to try and make the world a better place by the exchange of opinion. I'm very much am not stating that this is any kind of truth, just an opinion, a part of something that might be true. I will welcome discussion, on the topic, other points of view and so on. For now, I think that's what I'll say on the subject. Watch the movie on Netflix. It's a movie that mainly touches on things like civil disobedience, prejudice and class. It is well worth a watch.

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