It’s election season once again, and you know what that means… tons and tons of political commentary all over every single form of social media! Whether it’s Snapchats of debates, endless retweets of favorite candidates (or in my case, favorite leftist comedians), or lengthy politically charged Facebook rants, you’ll rarely have to guess the opinions of anyone with a computer this time of year.
With that said, it’s really easy to get frustrated with people who don’t think the same way you do, especially when their opposing opinions are clogging your news feed 24 hours a day. I am a hot headed, bleeding heart liberal. When I see anyone posting conservative jargon on any social media, my first instinct is to block them. I get irrationally angry and cannot, for the life of me, understand why someone would think anything else other than what I see as the obvious choice. But the reality is, there’s an entire half of the population that sees the world differently than I do. No matter how strongly I might disagree with them, these people exist. Their opinions are just as valid as mine. In fact, they’re probably looking at my Twitter feed and growing just as frustrated as I am as I scroll through theirs.
What I’ve realized is that it doesn’t do any good to disregard people’s opinions. In fact, those who disagree with you are probably the most vital components in the formation of your opinions and beliefs. It’s part of the reason we have freedom of speech in America. It’s good to see, read, and listen to the views of those who don’t see eye to eye with you. If you can understand where they’re coming from on certain issues, maybe your opinion will shift. If not, at least your perception of the way things are and the way to solve our nation’s issues will become more realistic. If you simply can’t even begin to accept their opinion on other issues, don’t just stop reading their post and close your browser. Explain to yourself why you’re feeling this way. Put it into words what exactly it is you disagree with, and why your own opinion is superior. Because another benefit of giving your oppositionist your attention is to strengthen your own argument.
Further polarization of the political spectrum is not going to do anyone any good. People on opposing ends spend too much time talking past each other, and not actually understanding where they stand. If you ignore opinions contradictory to your own, it hurts no one but you. Whether it helps you to understand and compromise or to solidify your own standing, listening to people who think differently than you is an eye-opening and necessary part of life, and of having a valid political opinion that you thoroughly understand.