I’ve been involved in quite a few heated political discussions lately. Throughout them, I have become quite frustrated, as I’m sure the others did too. What they were saying didn’t change my mind, and what I was saying surely didn’t change theirs.
This is an overwhelming problem in our country, and it is going to destroy us if we do not change. It seems that people are really quick to assume that just because someone disagrees with you, they are wrong. I am not innocent here. This is ignorant and childish. There are 319 million Americans right now, each with their own experiences and life situations. There are 7 billion people in the world, each with their own experiences and life situations. So how can we sit in our rooms or schools or wherever, and get angry because not everyone agrees with us?
I think this entire country could learn a few things from constructive conversation and compromise. It is not possible to please everyone in every area. There is too much diversity, which is the beautiful thing about this world. If we don’t learn to embrace these differences, and use them to our advantage, then we are worth nothing. Without this unique array of personalities and needs, we would have no reason for a political system. We would all just agree on everything and that would be great. But we don’t.
Next time you are in one of these tense situations, I encourage you to step back and take a deep breath. Think about their position. Are they disagreeing sensibly because of something in their life? Or are they calling you an idiot because you don’t see eye to eye? Are they throwing out assumptions that you don’t understand what you are talking about, even when you do? (I’ve done this and I’ve had this done to me. Neither felt particularly good.)
There is a tendency for us to become so defensive that we lose sight of the matters at hand. We see it in politics, when politicians fervently shoot down bills and call names on policies that they once supported, simply because of who is trying to push them through. We see it in day to day conversations, when people are so quick to lash out irrationally because you’ve brought up a point they couldn’t argue.
I will admit I’ve been judgmental and in the wrong before. I don’t know you. But chances are, you don’t know me. I’m not an idiot, I am actually obsessive and meticulous, and I don’t speak my opinion without oodles of previous research. I do my best to assume the same is true for you. So let’s please stop attacking each other. Let’s do better than our politicians are. Let’s debate and teach others, but also learn. We need to consider that maybe, just maybe, we don’t individually have the big picture. We need to learn to compromise.