You're Allowed To Disagree, Just Don't Be A Jerk About It

You're Allowed To Disagree, Just Don't Be A Jerk About It

We have the wonderful power to think and act as unique individuals without interfering with another's right to do the same.

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I'm terrible with confrontation. Maybe it's because I'm from Seattle and that makes me inherently passive-aggressive. Maybe it's because I don't like raised voices. Maybe it's because I hate negativity. Regardless, I will take drastic measures to ensure I do not offend anyone, at any time. I don't openly discuss religion, dieting, climate change, celebrity gossip, or politics. I avoid these at all costs.

That doesn't mean I have a closed mindset when it comes to topical issues. In fact, I consider myself a pretty open-minded person. My issue with sociopolitical debates are that they are often just that: debates. Why? Because, in general, individuals hate to be wrong.

Maybe that's a generalization, but I think it's appropriate to assume most people would rather be right than wrong. It's all in the connotation. The essence of a mature debate is to defend your opinion, your stance, your ideals. There is nothing wrong with that; passion is perfectly respectable. The problem lies where one side and the other refuse to meet. The problem is that most discussions are not stable on common ground.

We cannot expect to accomplish anything when we only listen to respond.

You identify as a Conservative? Great. You see things through a more Liberal lens? Cool. Independent? Anarchist? Something else? Good for you! Tell me why, and I will listen. Maybe you'll bring up a point I have never before considered. If I completely disagree, at least I have learned what else is out there. I have my opinion, you have yours. I'm not going to try to convince you that I'm right and you're wrong. There is absolutely no way for me to prove that I'm correct because not one of these issues has a definitive answer.

I can respect that every individual is raised under different circumstances. Everyone has unique experiences, role models, environments, etc. that shape our beautifully diverse perspectives. I was born to a mother and father who provided me and my brother with much more than we could ever need. I grew up in the third most Liberal city in the United States. Raised a member of the Roman Catholic faith, I was educated in the public schooling system until I chose to attend a Catholic, college preparatory high school. I attribute my left-leaning ideologies to these, among many other, factors throughout my 19 years. How the heck would I be qualified to judge the experiences of someone born and raised in a different family structure, in a different city, with a different educational background and faith, or lack thereof? The short answer is: I am nowhere near qualified!!! Three exclamation points - this is some serious talk.

No research, no textbook, no seminar or TED Talk or intervention or news bit will EVER teach me enough to justifiably deem another person's opinion inferior to my own. The basis of understanding necessary to have a mature, informed decision of this nature will never be established. I am allowed to disagree. I am allowed to agree. That beautiful diversity of opinion, that incredible power we have to piece together fragmented thoughts to form our own beliefs, is what makes us individuals.

Well, here I am, openly speaking about topics I very much like to keep to myself. Might as well take it a step further while I'm at it.

Stick with me. Let's assume we have a mutual understanding. I can move on in my pursuit of happiness with you, as my equal, pursuing your own. Would your choice to engage in a homosexual relationship directly affect me? No, absolutely no harm done. Would you be threatening MY wellbeing by deciding, with your family, what to (or not to) do with YOUR body during YOUR pregnancy? No, that is your decision to make. If Jimmy and Geraldine or whoever had a problem with either or any of your personal choices, that's on them. If conflicting opinion was SUCH a huge deal to these two, they could make their own (perfectly justified in its own way) decision to surround themselves with those who share the same views. The bottom line is, one's own decisions in pursuit of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness should never impinge on another's.

We can agree to disagree.

And my opinion is that no one should be granted the power to legislate morality. If it doesn't directly affect you, stay out of it. Not your body, not your family, not your relationship. This goes for me, you, him, her, they, them, anyone, everyone.

There is something else to be said for nationwide policies involving foreign relations, economy, taxes, gun control, yada yada yada. Clearly, any legal decision made in regard to these matters concerns more than the individual; large-scale policy change will affect the nation's wellbeing. Again, I voice my personal (and well-deserved) opinion that it is appropriate to work as a country to address these large-scale concerns. There is a very clear distinction to be made between issues of this nature and those previously mentioned. I will save any further discussion for another time.

Once more, these are my opinions.

I hope I have made it clear that I do not think I am right or wrong. This is simply what I think. I invite you to discuss. I invite you to comment and share your own beliefs. I invite you to learn from one another and build upon any foundation with which you entered this conversation. I invite you to open your minds and hearts to what it truly means to be a single part of the incredible whole we form together. Just don't be a jerk about it.

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I Might Have Aborted My Fetus When I Was 18, But Looking Back, I Saved A Child’s Life

It may have been one of the hardest decisions of my life, but I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't had done it.

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Due to recent political strife happening in the world today, I have decided to write on a very touchy, difficult subject for me that only a handful of people truly know.

When I was 18 years old, I had an abortion.

I was fresh out of high school, and deferring college for a year or two — I wanted to get all of my immature fun out so I was prepared to focus and work in the future. I was going through my hardcore party stage, and I had a boyfriend at the time that truly was a work of art (I mean truly).

Needless to say, I was extremely misinformed on sex education, and I never really thought it could happen to me. I actually thought I was invincible to getting pregnant, and it never really registered to me that if I had unprotected sex, I could actually get pregnant (I was 18, I never said I was smart).

I remember being at my desk job and for weeks, I just felt so nauseous and overly tired. I was late for my period, but it never really registered to me something could be wrong besides just getting the flu — it was November, which is the peak of flu season.

The first person I told was my best friend, and she came with me to get three pregnancy tests at Target. The first one came negative, however, the second two came positive.

I truly believe this was when my anxiety disorder started because I haven't been the same ever since.

Growing up in a conservative, Catholic Italian household, teen pregnancy and especially abortion is 150% frowned upon. So when I went to Planned Parenthood and got the actual lab test done that came out positive, I was heartbroken.

I felt like I was stuck between two roads: Follow how I was raised and have the child, or terminate it and ultimately save myself AND the child from a hard future.

My boyfriend at the time and I were beyond not ready. That same week, I found out he had cheated on me with his ex and finances weren't looking so great, and I was starting to go through the hardest depression of my life. Because of our relationship, I had lost so many friends and family, that I was left to decide the fate of both myself and this fetus. I could barely take care of myself — I was drinking, overcoming drug addictions, slightly suicidal and living with a man who didn't love me.

As selfish as you may think this was, I terminated the fetus and had the abortion.

I knew that if I had the child, I would be continuing the cycle in which my family has created. My goal since I was young was to break the cycle and breakaway from the toxicity in how generations of children in my family were raised. If I had this child, I can assure you my life would be far from how it is now.

If I had carried to term, I would have had a six-year old, and God knows where I would've been.

Now, I am fulfilling my future by getting a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, having several student leadership roles, and looking into law schools for the future.

Although it still haunts me, and the thought of having another abortion truly upsets me, it was the best thing to ever happen to me. I get asked constantly "Do you think it's just to kill a valuable future of a child?" and my response to that is this:

It's in the hands of the woman. She is giving away her valuable future to an unwanted pregnancy, which then resentment could cause horror to both the child and the woman.

As horrible as it was for me in my personal experience, I would not be where I am today: a strong woman, who had overcome addiction, her partying stage, and ultimately got her life in order. If I would have had the child, I can assure you that I would have followed the footsteps of my own childhood, and the child would not have had an easy life.

Because of this, I saved both my life and the child's life.

And if you don't agree or you dislike this decision, tough stuff because this is my body, my decision, my choice — no one else.

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