I’d like to think I’m a realistic, grounded, reasonable, common sense, no nonsense kind of person. I don’t get hung up on all the things that make the person sitting next to me different from me. I understand that we’re all just different parts of the same puzzle, and that’s a good thing to be a part of, regardless of how much or little our lives may resemble one another.
I genuinely want to understand how people’s experiences have shaped their direction in life. I want to take the time to consider how their views and opinions differ from my own, and consider if maybe the basis for my thought process merits reconsideration.
That said, I am also no pushover. I’ll thoroughly consider the merits of a dissenting opinion…but that doesn’t mean valid points on your side negate valid points on mine. And if your aim is to pressure me to conform instead of informing me to let me decide…I think you’ll find that your argument is lost on me.
Frankly, though, that’s where we live these days, isn’t it? In a shouting match about who’s right? It’s exhausting…and disappointing. And I find myself shying away from holding public political views of any kind because of it. I do me, and you do you, and let’s all just shut up about it, is my default setting.
But tragedy brings out both the best and the worst in people, doesn’t it? We all knit together in the moment, to comfort those affected and there’s that flicker of a moment where we’re all in this together. And then somewhere in this polarized society we’ve created, a switch flips and we turn that tragedy into an opportunity to advance a platform and tear the country apart again.
Why? Why do I see memes in the wake of this latest school shooting saying that Republicans voted for children to be murdered, or some iteration thereof? Of all the hurtful, counterproductive, idiotic things to say.
Nevermind how your Republican neighbor, who thought you were a friend, might feel about that statement that utterly dismisses what you know to be their character. Nevermind that.
Think about how the parents of those children feel…and even moreso, the few inevitably Republican parents in that already devastated group…seeing their worst nightmare splashed all over social media in careless, hurtful graphics, specifically designed to inflict the most volatile reaction in parties so far removed from the event, that they think it’s somehow appropriate to use people’s misery for their own gain.
We should all be ashamed.
Have a little freaking compassion. Try leading with kindness.
I’m planning to start sharing some of my political views on this blog, because I see the error in my decision to be quiet just to save myself a headache. I don’t know that anyone will relate, or anyone’s opinions will change. And I’ll probably wind up with backlash. But I’ll know I have shared my story and where I’m coming from, and hopefully someone will at least take a minute to consider an opinion different from their own without dismissing it outright.
If we can’t start having an open dialogue instead of just creating a narrative and shoving it down each other’s throats, we’re never going to get anywhere.