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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Stop Yelling At Me For Being Conservative

What you shouldn't say to millennial Republicans.
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Society today has a funny way of making Republicans seem like the scum of the Earth. The funniest thing is that it's actually not funny at all — it's an ignorant, rude way to treat people. See, America these days seems to be all about treating everyone fairly. That is, until differing opinions come about. How dare we Republicans view economics and politics differently? How dare we have our own opinions? How dare we identify as Conservative people, even as young adults?

So, without further ado, here are some things that I, a millennial Republican, am beyond tired of hearing.


"You're just a college girl, what do you know about politics?"

Yeah, I'm a basic white girl. I wear Converse to class and my sorority's letters are on my rear windshield. Guess what, though — I do my research. I've been following the presidential campaigns for months now. I've watched the debates, read the articles, visited the websites and studied the polls. I may be in a sorority and I may wear Converse, but I know what I'm talking about when it comes to this stuff. So, if you ask for my opinion, be prepared to hear a well-thought-out, educated answer.

"You only believe what your parents raised you to believe."

No, actually. My parents raised me to understand the value of hard work. They made me get a job when I was 16 years old so I could learn how to budget, save and provide for myself. My parents did not teach me to rely on other people to get what I want. My parents did not teach me to accept handouts. Therefore, I believe that success comes from hard work and dedication. I believe that each individual is responsible for his or her own success (along with his or her own property and obligations), hence why I identify as a Conservative.

"You're voting for him?!"

Yeah! I am! Funny, I thought we were all entitled to our own opinion. It turns out this is my opinion, and [insert candidate] has my vote. Cool how that works, huh?

"The GOP candidates this time around are horrible."

It doesn't take an idiot to see that none of the Republican candidates are the ideal presidential candidate. It also doesn't take an idiot to see that the same thing can be said of the Democratic candidates. Here's the reality: There never has been a perfect president, there never has been a perfect presidential candidate, there is no perfect president, there is no perfect presidential candidate, there never will be a perfect president and there never will be a perfect presidential candidate.

"You're so selfish."

Define selfish. I want my money to be my money and I want my rights to be my rights; I was unaware that that labels me as "selfish." I am confident that I can survive without the government's help.

"But don't you care about the old people/the kids/the environment/the homeless people/etc?"

Yes, I do. What I don't like is that my hard-earned money gets taken from me and used for other things. I'm not against helping out, don't get me wrong. I would love to donate to charities to help children and homeless people and the planet, that is if I had enough money to do so. Sadly, that money gets taken from me through taxes (Which could be considered forced donation, if you ask me. How is that fair?).

"But what about the minorities? You're just racist."

No, I'm not racist and yes, I do care about the minorities. I believe diversity is one of America's greatest qualities. What bothers me, though, is that society changes the meaning of "fair" when it comes to minorities. Yeah, it would be fair for us to all be able to pay our own medical bills and whatnot. Do you know what else would be fair? For even the members of minorities to get jobs and earn their way to success just like I'm trying to do. If illegal immigrants want to come to America, then they can go through the citizenship process, get a job and contribute to society. If they want to be treated equally, they need to start viewing themselves and treating themselves as working American citizens who pay the same taxes, get the same jobs and fight the same daily battles that we fight.

"You're hateful and/or heartless."

Nah. What I am is honest, self-sufficient and confident that other people can be honest and self-sufficient.

"You're ignorant."

Again, no, I'm not. As I've said several other times throughout this article, I know what I'm talking about and I can justify what I'm talking about. If anything, you're ignorant for accusing me of such things.

"You're crazy if you'd vote Trump over Sanders or Clinton if he's the chosen GOP candidate."

Please enlighten me on how this makes me "crazy." In this upcoming election, I will be voting for the candidate chosen by my political affiliation. The Republican Party's only strong opposing candidates include a self-proclaimed Socialist and a woman under FBI investigation. What I would consider "crazy" is if I voted for Sanders or Clinton over Donald Trump, just because Trump has offended some people before. (And no, this is not me saying I'm a loud and proud Trump supporter. In fact, Cruz has my vote either until he's elected into office or until Trump is chosen as the GOP candidate.)

Side note: I've heard the people, who hate Trump for being mean, say meaner things than that man ever has. A very wise man (Jesus, in John 8:7) once said, "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone."


What you should be saying to me is "Thank you," because I'm voting for freedom. I'm voting for civil liberties. I'm voting for constitutional rights. I'm voting for the will to succeed. I'm voting for the reward for hard work. I'm voting for the things that will actually help America keep prospering.

So, here's what I'll say to you: You're welcome.

Cover Image Credit: Kristi Russell

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That One Time I May Have Shot An Ex-Police Officer

Yeah, you heard me.

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In England, we don't really have guns, maybe hunting guns but I think it's pretty rare. Anyway, point is, barely any guns. I have never seen a gun, shot a gun, I don't even know anybody that owns a gun so as an exchange student in Oklahoma it's a novelty to visit a gun range.

I was pretty nervous about shooting but the instructor was super nice and told us how to hold the gun and load it before we went into the range. He also let us ask any questions we had about guns and explained the process of getting a gun in Oklahoma and he said he had visited Europe and was talking about England, and how he used to be a cop and opened his own gun shop. Basically a really really nice guy, which honestly makes harming him ten times worse.

We went into the range and we were shooting a 22 caliber and another guy at the range, I'm assuming a regular, asked if we wanted to fire his revolver so of course, we said yes.

This gun was definitely heavier and the trigger was super hard to pull but he kept his hand on the gun whilst I struggled with the trigger and then I fired it.

I heard a bang and I heard a yell.

I turned around and he was holding his thumb and there was blood dripping onto the floor. At this point, I thought I had shot him, so you can imagine the sheer level of panic that I was feeling.

The color drained from my face and I was frozen solid and all I could say was, "are you okay?" which was answered with a "Ma'am, put the gun down."

Basically, I'm freaking out and I look over at the lads for some form of reassurance, which was met with them looking equally as freaked out as me. So I asked,

"Do we need to call someone?"

"Yep. We are definitely gonna have to call someone"

So at this point, my nerves were shattered and I had no idea what was going on or what the procedure is for this sort of thing. I mean, the guy also took it like a champ and barely even winced and kept repeating "little lady, you're fine" – safe to say I did not feel fine nor did the situation, in my eyes, look at all fine.

Luckily the regulars knew what to do and took him to the ER so we were left in the store with another regular shooter.

Everyone else went back out to shoot but I didn't feel like assaulting/ shooting/ potentially murdering anyone else so I decided to sit this round out and talk to the woman that stayed with us and he called and said it wasn't me, something came off the bullet or gun and went into his hand- so no I didn't actually shoot him and he was going to be okay.

The point of this now very funny story is that whilst guns are cool they're also pretty dangerous.

I have no idea how someone can participate in these mass shootings because I didn't even shoot someone, only thought I did, and it was probably the most terrifying moment of my life.

So, if you are around guns, have fun, be safe and try not to send your instructor to the ER.

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