I just had a wonderful talk with an old friend. We used to work together and I remember having the best conversations with him. We could talk politics, he leans more right, but we respected each other and I always felt that I was learning something from him.
It got me thinking though, has this country always been so divided? I know we’ve always had differing views amongst people, but has it always been so personal? Has it always been that people are unwilling to think or learn anything that differs from their current beliefs?
Are we, as a species, so afraid to grow that we intentionally create animosity toward anyone or anything that is different from us?
I am what many would consider to be liberal in my social views. I believe in equality for all people. I don’t base my belief on gender, sexuality, or ethnicity. I have this belief because I see everyone as human.
Now, that doesn’t mean that I’m naïve. I know that racism exist. I know that sexism exist. I know that bigotry exist. They have always existed. They aren’t new. Human beings have been dealing with these issues since the beginning of time. What is new, at least to me, is the unwillingness to understand why people have those views. Is it possible, that if we were all willing to try to understand each other that we could all move toward common ground?
People aren’t born racist, sexist or as bigots. Those are learned traits. They are shaped by experiences and environment. Perspective is powerful. Yelling or degrading someone for thinking differently than you isn’t like to change their perspective, it will most likely reinforce it.
Most people are very quick to claim how open-minded they are but how open-minded is it to shun others simply for thinking differently? I get it though. When you’re attacked on a personal level it’s completely natural to attack back, to defend yourself. But to what end? At what cost? It keeps us divided and conquered.
This pertains to more than just politics. I see posts on Mommy pages and in groups all the time with women attacking each other over whether to breastfeed or bottle feed. How much screen time is best, what activities kids should be involved in, and when it’s ok to start feeding your baby solids. I get very upset when I see this stuff. It’s not for me to decide what another parent does with their child. I mean, sure I’ll have my opinion but I don’t have to share it in a way that demonizes another parent. I do what’s best for my kid and you should too.
My point is that we’ve all become so ready to attack and have stopped listening, stopped actually hearing each other. We all need to stop, step back and remember that each one of us is human.