There has been a lot going through my mind lately. A lot of personal things, ideas, endeavors, and opinions. Some of those things, I have really wanted to stand up and shout. People that are hypocrites. Ideas that are ridiculous. Statements that are laughable if they weren't hurtful. I see, hear, and read things everyday, online, on campus, on the bus, on the tv, on the radio, in the sky, in magazines, all over. Sometimes it makes my blood boil. Sometimes my heart cringes. Sometimes I tear up. Sometimes I laugh condescendingly.
I am an avid political junky, or to use a new word I learned from David, a wonk. I can identify nearly all heads of departments in the White House. I can name all political party, senate, and house leaders. I can tell you whose up in the polls in what state, and what is the latest gossip in the beltway. Im a nerd to say the least.
I use to think that the way I thought, was correct, and everyone who disagreed was mislead, or mistaken in their views. I thought, If I can just explain to them clearly enough they will understand that I am right, and all will be well. I would argue continuously to convert them to my political beliefs. I knew they were walking in political darkness.
Then I grew up. I realized that people didn't disagree with me because they were confused. People disagreed with me because they had a different end view. What they were working for was different then what I was working for.
They weren't trying to destroy America, they were trying to create a country they honestly thought was best. I disagree 100% with their view of a utopian America, but I could not change their mind to what I thought, because I had a different vision of what a good America looked like. The point of arguing was useless because there was a fundamental difference in what we were working towards. I saw A and they saw B. I saw Black and they saw White.
I stopped trying to convert their thinking. I would discuss, and share my vision and why I thought it was best, and then I would listen to their vision and why they thought it was best. We would dive into policies and what was at the root of our beliefs of those policies, but in the end we agreed to disagree.
Agreeing to disagree doesn't mean I go and hang their political bumper stickers on my car. It doesn't mean I support their way of thinking. I mean, I can live next to them, without yelling at them everyday. I don't expect them to vote how I will vote. I don't expect them to come to my political rallies with me to show support. It means we wave and talk about our life and struggles, with a genuine smile and a honest ear.
If they vote for a candidate I whole heartedly disagree with, I don't call them a bigot and delete them from my Facebook friend list. If I don't vote for the ballot measure they support and talked to me about, it doesn't mean they stand on my front lawn yelling that I am a person filled with hate, or I should just keep quiet.
There are fundamental differences in beliefs. Because I disagree with someone, doesn't mean they need to shut up, because their view is hurtful to me. Because someone disagrees with me doesn't mean they need to stay home and not vote because they are voting for something I disagree with. If everyone who disagreed with me stayed home and shut up, where would the diversity come from?
People call others bigots, and haters. Others call people stupid and close minded. Those who yell these phrases, in my mind, are the bigots, the haters, the stupids and the close minded people.
Someone who calls another person close minded is, in my view, more close minded then the person they point their finger at. The man who yells bigot across the road is more of a bigot than they who he accuses. The woman who proclaims someone is filled with hate, has hate steaming out of her own ears.
A democracy is a place where one can share their idea without being shouted down. Where a honest belief can be proclaimed without fear of being ridiculed in public or private.
I warn those who proclaim others are bigots, hateful, shameful, hypocrites, ignorate, etc., to take a close look at yourself. Take a close look at the kind of world you want to live in. You say you want your voice to be heard, while you attempt to stop the voices of others. Watch yourself. Watch your own hypocrisy. Mind your own narrow-mindedness. Remember your own life experiences have brought you to the current and future views of what you want the world and society to be. Remember at the same time that the one you are trying to silence has a different view of what they want the world and society to be.
We are different, and that is a good thing. We can live together, in a world, with vastly opposing views. With fundamental core principles, morals, values, and dreams. Stop the yelling, and stop the finger pointing. Mind you own beam, before you attempt to fix their mote. Stop telling someone their view is wrong, simply because you disagree with it. When we all stop worrying about correcting other people, we can then begin to live together and work together.