You’re human; you disagree. It’s what you do, and that’s perfectly okay. You are allowed to think differently than your peers. If we all agreed on every little thing, we’d have no innovation or advancement in the way we conduct ourselves every day. Disagreements lead to more thinking and, in the end, a more developed idea. But in the past decade, our country has strayed from using disagreement as a sign of respect to, instead, a way to divide our people even further. Already hanging by a single thread, it’s only a matter of time before our country rips in two, unless we decide to improve from contradicting each other so harshly to doing so constructively.
In today’s society, respect is a fine token, a rare ember crackling quietly in the wind in the midst of a field of desolation. It has become such a foreign artifact that society has turned away from it completely; instead, opting to serve the general public a warped version of the concept. Through this meticulous respect degradation, we have been taught to think less of ourselves and to reject the insane insinuation that maybe, just maybe, we deserve something more. Politics have always been a stellar example of this. The way that politicians argue between each other denotes a culture that has had so much of its virtue desiccated. 2017 is a year that, regardless of the connotation, will forever be remembered as an especially influential year in politics. But despite the controversy that enshrouds our country, we need to remember who we are challenging. No matter our beliefs, at the end of the day, we are all neighbors. We thrive off of each other and would be lost without one another. The world needs all types to go around. If we should be judging others at all, they should be made based off of their character, not their political views.
Granted, we don’t have very many figures to look to for guidance, and the few public figures who still do exercise reverence in their work are often overlooked. After all, news channels make money off of views, and unfortunately, people will always remember plane crashes over landings. Like many, I became enthralled with politics this year and decided to tune into some of the enlightening debates, only to witness a back-and-forth name calling session. I came under the impression that politics had always been this way—until I watched a debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. While today’s politicians only aim to tear each other down and get ahead, Kennedy and Nixon respectfully disagreed, acknowledging each other’s ideas while still propagating their own. It’s such a lost art in our day and age to listen and refute instead of harping about why someone with a different view is unintelligent, and, therefore, too ignorant to understand the correct interpretation. We marginalize other people to the point where they matter no more than a number or statistic on a poll.
Regardless of background, every American has the right to be heard. While we are not all born with the same opportunities, we should all have the ability to take the ones that arise for us. America has always been solidified in its individuality, but it is also time for us to universally respect each other. We need to keep in mind that, like clockwork, all of us are needed to be cohesive and efficient. While it may be frustrating to know that someone doesn’t agree with you, think of the advantages that our nation has from even allowing different opinions. While it is inevitable for you to argue when you diverge from others’ ways of thinking, argue with facts. Have an actual argument instead of empty words, because insulting each other will get us somewhere, but not anywhere we want to be as individuals, families, or nations.
Stay open-minded to all ideas. Even if you don’t agree with another idea, hear the person out. Just because you don’t support the platform doesn’t mean that you can’t understand why the other person does. Everyone deserves to have their own beliefs, and while they may not align with yours, you should acknowledge that they exist. If we are worth as much as our political views, then we are worth next to nothing. What matters is who we are as people. While the two may be sometimes difficult to separate, if we respect who we are, the rest will begin to fall into place.