I recently read an Odyssey article titled “Why Political Millennials Are the Worst,” and I have to admit—upon first glance I was not happy with it. Actually, I did not like it at all. Alright, honestly, I hated it. This initial dislike stemmed from the fact that I disagreed wholeheartedly with its arguments. I thoroughly read the article, as I always do, but still could not get past the arguments the author chose to emphasize. After reading it a third time, however, I realized that the author and I may very well be on the same page, but we clearly got there by different means.
You see, I am an advertisement/public relations major. In other words, I study how to make people, products and companies (among other things) look appealing at first glance. I was dumbfounded after the first read through by this article, despite the fact that it reflected familiar opinions of my own.
For example, the author states:
“There's no use in arguing over something you're never going to change, so sit down.”
I want to be clear that the most confrontational thing I have ever done is probably writing this article. I do not offer my opinion on political matters unless pressed for an answer and I do not instigate debates. If you are baiting me into a debate, though, and I spot a flaw in the arguments you are giving, chances are I am going to bite. This phrase written by the author is not wrong, regardless.
My problem is that I attempt to clarify the holes in other people’s arguments when in reality they care very little if they are misquoting this candidate or that piece of legislature. If they are choosing to passionately believe in something, who am I change that? I rephrased it in a more self-appealing manner and realized that the author and I were going for the same idea: Shoving your opinions down someone’s throat is not going to change anything. Arguing for the sake of argument is not inspiring a solution. Your opinions do not make you special, they simply prove you are human. If you want to change something, transform your opinions and beliefs into a reasonable solution and change the problem you are yelling about. If people are criticizing what you are doing, they are admitting that they are paying attention to you.
Another argument was this:
"If people don't like you, they're never going to listen to you, and they're never going to help you. Stop making excuses, and more importantly, start being nice."
I could not agree more that people need to start being a little nicer. Honestly, though, I do not need people to like me. I need them to respect me, and right off the bat, I thought the author was going for another point entirely. An “if everyone is nice, there would be no more problems” point.
I do not think that is what he was really going for now, and again, I think he is right.
People will not want to listen to someone or put their faith in someone who makes them feel inferior. If you are an intelligent person, you should at least strive to be a respectable one as well. When the writer of this article claims “they’re never going to help,” I think that is because they are never going to listen to you to begin with. Not with that attitude.
A third (but not the last) point was this:
"Leaders bring people together, not divide them up. It's not OK to hate someone because of the way they see the world."
This one made me chuckle, considering one of the candidates vying to be the leader of our country (he-who-must-not-be-named) literally wants to build a wall to divide people. There is more to it than that, which the author elaborates to. Our perspective of the world is largely a reflection of our experiences. The more friends and allies a person has by his or her side, the more perspectives and ideas he or she gains. The more people that work together on any given project, the more likely a feasible solution will come about. Collaboration is necessary, so we mine as well get use to it.
In all, the article was a really good read and a well deserved slap-on-the-wrist (for me, at least). I began reading the article with a predetermined attitude towards it, and I am sort of glad I did. Every statement the author made was one I could relate to, but not at all how I would have stated it. We are not always going to agree on the method or even on the outcome. There will still be more disagreement than consensus on important issues plaguing our nation and world. I truly believe there is a right way and a wrong way to disagree with another person. The right way is when you learn, and the wrong way is when you win. Imagine the solutions that would result if more people understood that.