Saluting with misty eyes
Ron- I would, first of all, congratulate you on five years. For a website to be valid after 5 months is rare enough. Five years without major corporate sponsorship, or something to sell at half price is almost impossible.
Secondly, I don't think that you are being fair to yourself, the site, or to the people who inhabit it. You have over 2,000 members, some active, some not and- for the most part- they get along just fine. Getting 20 people into a room and not having personality conflicts is rare.
As for people not understanding each other any more clearly now than they did 5 years ago... I believe that statement is both a littel too hopeful and almost impossible to achieve. You have people from all over the world (USA, Australia, The Netherlands, Canada, The UK, and more) and from all social backgrounds, and all types of governmental beliefs, religious beliefs, social beliefs, and such. It's hard enough to get 200 Republicans, Democrats, Liberals, Conservatives, school teachers, Marines, bus drivers, bums, whatever in the same room to agree an anything. Getting 2000 people, many of whom have very strong, long set belief systems to see eye to eye is impossible.
Five years ago, the world wasn't in the state of turmoil that it is now. There was no unpopular war for the US to be loved/reviled/who cares about. There was no strangely contested US election for people to argue over the winner/loser/cry baby/thief about. There was no modern instance of Americans being killed wholesale outside of the Middle East. Spaniards weren't being killed in mass quantities. Dance Clubs in indonesia weren't dangerous for anything except drunken brawls and angry boyfriends. Now...
I do believe that, in part, this forum has been able to bring people with vastly divergent views of the world (Misletoe Angel and myself as an example) and has allowed them to share those viewpoints. Sometimes the discussions get heated, and occasionally one side or the other (usually both) has bad info, however those varying viewpoints are respected and DISCUSSED instead of agrued. Examples would be religion, politics, elections, wars, terrorism, movies, music, gay rights... all of which have been topics in the discussion forums.
While it is true that the current conflict that is going on in the Middle East and elsewhere has divided the world, and that (even on here) neither side is giving ground, the same thing happened in your war. Americans were reviled world wide for being in South-East Asia... nowhere more than here at home. And neither side was willing to give ANY acceptance to the other side. Not only that, discussions were mostly severely heated, with name calling, violence, and even the memebers of the military- who did not want to be there, and who had no major agenda other than making it home and not failing the man next to them- were attacked and made to feel as if they were evil. NO war is ever popular or without extremes in opinions.
On the blue pages, those discussions are made with a sense of respect for the opposition (ok.. not always, but usually), and a willingness to allow the varying viewpoints. There are rules for the debate that are followed (mostly) or the reprecussions are immediate.
You have also provided the world with a safe place to share their thoughts and writings. I belong to a few other writing sites, and yet Passions is the ONLY place that I will allow my kids to read, much less post on. None of the other sites have the support that Passions provides.
Yes, we are still separated by all of those things. To think that one site would change things that drastically in so little amount of time is expecting too much.
Look at the accomplishments, and the progress that HAS been made, and be as proud of yourself as we are of these pages.
Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again...