We have lost our ability to debate and share ideas.

"You are a Nazi." "You are a hypocrite." "Well, you are just stupid." "Don't listen to them it's all lies!" Sound familiar?

For those of you who read my articles regularly, you know I'm never shy about my conservative values. In the last year, it has become clear to me that I am not included in the movement to support and empower women. Why? Because I am a female conservative. *Insert gasps here.*

Instead of supporting me and my choices, I am ridiculed. My conservative values are shamed, mocked, and written off.

People don't stop and ask me why I am a conservative or why I agree or disagree with something. I am once again shamed and ridiculed. People make emotionally charged and irrational comments, it's like speaking to a teenager rather than an adult.

Being judgmental and completely shutting down a person simply because you don't agree with them is wrong. The most basic principle of how to interact with people is to treat them how you would want to be treated. Screenshotting a picture I posted while at a female conservative leadership retreat, posting it where I can't see it, then proceeding to insult my friend who stood up for me, is childish behavior. Behavior like that just prevents any sort of conversation and silences an entire group of people.

Why does all reason go out the window when someone is a Republican? Especially female Republicans. Maybe we truly have raised a generation of crybabies that cannot handle any idea they've never heard of or agree with.

It's not hard to have a rational conversation with someone about a topic where there is disagreement, without getting emotional. You truly don't know what you are for if you don't know what you are against. Hearing someone out when they have a different opinion allows you to at least know why they feel that way, better argue for or against that idea, and allows other people to share their own ideas instead of hiding them.

Since debating and rational discussions have become so rare, here are some ways to approach someone if you feel like they might have a different opinion:

  1. Ask them (politely) to explain why they feel the way that they do.
  2. Listen the entire time they are speaking. Don't get angry, emotional, upset, or be judgemental.
  3. Calmly ask them followup questions such as:
    1. "Well, what about (insert idea/event/policy)."
    2. OK, I can see where you are coming from, but what about (insert idea/event/policy).
    3. When in doubt, just politely say OK "thank you for telling me your opinion, I do not agree but now I at least understand why you don't agree with me."

I and many other conservatives are tired of feeling like we have to hide our viewpoints and opinions for fear of punishment or rejection. We are all entitled to our own opinions and we are all entitled to share those opinions when we can. Hatred, ridicule, and silencing a whole group based on the simple fact you don't agree is childish. It just makes us divided.

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