The political climate in America is not the same as it was ten, five, or even just a year ago. The country has become so divided on every issue we’re no longer able to even tolerate differing opinions. When you’re seen as evil or immoral for eating meat, driving a truck, or being pro-life, there’s not much room for healthy discussion. I’m not sure when this happened, but somewhere along the way we’ve conflated disagreement with actual hate speech. This seems to be an ever growing trend, but I’m here to remind you that disagreement DOES NOT equal hate.
No matter what side of the aisle you’re on, you shouldn’t have to live in the shadows. More and more I see peers, particularly with conservative leanings hiding their true opinions out of fear they will be attacked by the “social media mob”. This is why I decided to start this blog in the first place. I’m sure you’ve all heard that the use (or disuse I suppose) of plastic drinking straws has been a hot topic lately. I appreciate the aim of this movement, however I think it’s a bit extreme. I mean after all the research was done by a 9 year-old. Read this article by The New York Times (https://nyti.ms/2JHbnYq). I see people apologizing for using a plastic straw, reassuring anyone who notices that “I just ordered a five pack of reusable straws on Amazon, they should be here tomorrow. Please forgive me.” They’re so afraid that they will be seen as a bad person…for using a straw. Seriously, people are so afraid of being seen as anything less than “woke” that they follow blindly along with the biggest and loudest crowd they see.
The same thing happens with the hot button issue of same sex marriage. Just because someone doesn’t agree with this, that doesn’t mean they are homophobic. At the same time, if you agree with same sex marriage, this does not make you evil. I think when we start to cry “hate speech” every time we hear a dissenting opinion this draws attention away from the actual hate filled rhetoric out there in the world. The more people use the terms racism, sexism, homophobic etc. as a weapon to shut down differing opinions these words get watered down. These words are losing their significance.
I think we need to be more open to discussion with people that are different than ourselves. It’s very easy to get stuck in the habit of only talking to people that are just like us. We need to be more open minded and realize that there are people out there that think differently than ourselves.
I’m tired of the name calling and demonization of our political opponents. We need to bring back kindness.
But what do I know? I’m just a stupid millennial 🙂