Tuesday, July 1, 2014

That Girl Who Disagrees With You? She's a Person Too.

On days like today I like to stay off Facebook. Days when a controversial issue is super big news, and everyone has their own opinion. I debated with myself over whether to blog about this, but then I got this survey in the mail today and it seemed like a sign. It's not opinions that I mind -- we all have them -- but it's the way in which people share them that bothers me.


I think it's really easy to hide behind our computer monitors and phone screens and forget about the fact that we're addressing other human beings. The truth is, people on both sides of an issue usually believe that they are honestly right and that their opinion is in the best interest of women/death row inmates/drug addicts/whatever the thing is. But I think when we're using our keyboards to pontificate about any issue, it is really very easy to forget that the people who disagree with us aren't demons, they are other human beings. They are people with moms and brothers and kids who probably donate to charities and do community service. I think it's perfectly fine to hold an opinion -- I actually don't really love fence-sitters -- and I think it's totally okay to voice your opinion ... in a loving manner. Also, has anyone ever changed their mind on a hot-button issue because one of their Facebook friends lectured them and told them they didn't care about individual freedom or whatever? I honestly bet that no one ever read a post like that, or a comment, and thought, "You know what? Sally is totally right. I am a woman-hater who is on the wrong side of history. I'm totally changing my mind 180 degrees. I am SO glad she yelled at me so rudely on Facebook."

As they say in The American President, "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating, at the top of his lungs, that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours." 

And, there is that little matter of loving your neighbor as yourself.  No one wants to be lectured or shouted at or demeaned. Especially on Facebook. The fact that we all have different opinions and ideas is what makes this nation great. And I understand that these are BIG issues with outcomes that wound people's hearts and people feel I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-Y passionate about them. There are many issues I feel incredibly strongly about too and there are also things that hurt my heart. But before I say anything publicly, I always try and remind myself that the person to whom (not AT whom) I'm speaking is a person. Like I am.

Just my opinion. Hopefully shared in a loving manner because you are a person too.

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