I know I had promised I would try to write some more light hearted and funny posts about some of my experiences, but I can’t today. There is something that has been weighing on me for a couple of weeks now. I just need to get it off my chest and put it out there.
When did we stop debating respectfully when we had a difference of opinion? When did we stop being civil in our discourse and turn to attacking someone personally because we have a differing views?
I try, as best I can, to have a true debate with someone if we have a difference of opinion. I do my best to keep it respectful and discuss facts and experience when trying to put my arguments out there. In most cases, I am not even trying to change someone’s opinion of a situation. In most cases, I am just trying to give them a window into why my opinion is different than their’s. Its up to them to listen and possibly change their opinion. I can’t force them to change. Sometimes I lose my cool and things get ugly…but I hope those incidents have been few and far between.
I think people forget that while yes, their are documented facts that may or may not support their views, many of our opinions on the world are based on our individual experiences. My life experiences are so dramatically different than most of the people I know. These are the experiences my world view has been shaped upon. My experiences drive my reactions to the world around me. If someone has different experience in life, they will respond differently to a similar situation. These experiences shape our political beliefs, views on religion, love, money, relationships and so many other things.
It seems all too often that when people disagree now, the conversations turn to one or both people being called stupid, a loser, pathetic or some other derogatory term simply because they have a different view. When did this start to happen? I mean, if someone doesn’t want to acknowledge facts in a debate and at least attempt to counter the argument with facts of their own…well, I see that as being closed minded or lazy depending on your stance. Notice in both of those cases though, I used the word “being” which means they are choosing to behave in a certain way.
In so many discussions I have been in over the past couple of years, particularly those relating to my transition, I have been called so many things from stupid to discriminatory to a loser to a freak. I have been compared to a drug addict, a high school dropout, a liar and so much more. In thinking about this, what about disagreeing with someone warrants such statements? Have I ever done anything to anyone that would warrant not being provided services, such as food when dining out or health care? I acknowledge I am not perfect but my life experiences have taught me each person should be respected until they choose to act in a way that shows they don’t deserve respect.
My hope for this world is that we all learn to talk about things instead of pointing fingers and attacking someone. My hope for this world is that we all start showing each other a bit more respect, especially when we disagree. My hope for this world is that we learn that we don’t have to agree with someone on everything to love and support them. My hope for this world is that we learn not just from our own experiences, but also the experiences of others.
Do we really need to make disagreements so personal?
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