People get upset about nearly everything these days. Unless you live with your head under the sand, you've probably seen some of the latest social media fighting firsthand; the debate about whether to stand or kneel during the National Anthem, whether or not Trump is doing enough for Puerto Rico, and even whether or not Melania wore "appropriate" shoes to visit Texas after the hurricane. I don't know if it's because we just love having things to fight about or what, but the fact that every day brings a new social media debate is indesputable.
While some of the things that become areas of contention are pretty ridiculous (like Melania's shoe choice, for example!), other topics are actually really serious and important...such as abortion, border control, LGBT issues, and racism. These issues have divided our nation into thousands of tiny little pieces because, for some reason, the idea that we cannot live with or interact with anyone who disagrees with us is flourishing. These issues have effectively destroyed America as a whole and replaced it with countless little mini-factions who cannot handle contact with any of the other little factions because we've been led to believe we're too fragile to handle disagreement. So instead we surround ourselves with others who agree with us 100% on everything (which ends up not being very many people), and then we write scathing comments underneath political articles on Facebook from the safety of our couches, knowing we can say the nastiest things we feel like and there are virtually no repercussions.
This has left the majority of people my age (27) and younger basically unable to handle real-life conflict or have a sane debate in person. We can't handle the feeling that someone in the real world may not agree with us and may not be nice to us because of it. But the superficial safety bubbles we construct around ourselves are not real life, and living afraid of real discussions about real issues is only exacerbating real problems.
The need for us to engage in conversations about these problems is crucial. I can't look on Facebook anymore without seeing articles about Antifa and BLM riots, women marching for abortion rights, and White Nationalists carrying tiki torches and yelling hate. No matter what side of each of these issues you're on, it doesn't matter right now. (Don't misunderstand me: I'm not saying these issues don't matter, because they do. I'm saying, try your hardest to look beyond your perspective right now.) The stance you take on each issue doesn't matter nearly as much as your ability to communicate your stance. The whole point of having a stance on an issue is to hopefully sway others to your side of thinking, right? Because if you believe in something passionately, you want others to believe passionately with you — amiright?
There is a massive inability in our generation of people to be able to effectively communicate their ideals and opinions to others. Instead of constructive conversations happening, I see hate and expletives being slung at each other. I see a lack of empathy and a lack of listening. On all sides. Pro-choice and pro-life. Pro-gay marriage and pro-traditional marriage. Democrat and Republican. Pro-gun and anti-gun. White people and people of color.
The thing is: we are all human beings. No matter what side of the line we come down on in these different areas, we are all deserving of compassion, respect, and the chance to voice our opinions without the fear of getting beat up or screamed at.
Too many of my peers have this attitude that if you don't agree with them, you're not worthy of their time or consideration, and that's just not true. We all deserve each others' time and consideration because we are all humans and we are all living on this planet together. Just because you and I may disagree on something doesn't mean I see you in a lesser light because of it.
I get it; sometimes it's so satisfying to type a snappy comment under someone else's and think, "Yeah, I really showed that person! I'm right and they're wrong and I made them look so dumb!" But these little moments of self-vindication are so petty. Wouldn't it be so much better if we were able to come together and, with kindness and empathy, discuss our different opinions without fear of ridicule? Think of how much more we could accomplish!
Instead of gay people suing Christians for refusing to bake their wedding cake, instead of pro-life advocates standing outside Planned Parenthood facilities with grisly pictures and accusations, instead of BLM rioting and demanding white people give up their houses — instead of these hate-filled speeches and demands — wouldn't it be so much better if we could recognize the humanity in everyone and try to understand where they're coming from? Maybe then, we'd see all we have in common instead of the small things we don't have in common. Maybe then, we'd want to work on these issues and come to peaceful understandings because we'd know we're working together instead of against each other.
We are all different people, and we are all going to have different opinions and beliefs, but we are all humans who deserve kindness and compassion. Please, instead of getting upset at the people who disagree with you on issues, try to see past the opposing views to the person behind them. I promise you, you'll see more of yourself in them than you'd ever have thought.