The United States has a population of around 300 million people. There are TWO major party candidates running for president and the election will be held in November. We all know at least that much.
Even though I’m a math nerd, I think this is one of those “easy” ones. With close to 300,000,ooo and mainly two choices, you don’t have to be a mathematician or even a borderline genius to realize that there WILL be people who choose one way and people who will choose the other. This isn’t an epic revelation.
With multiple choices also come disagreements. Of course they will. There are also a lot of folks who have no problem “agreeing to disagree,” or sharing their opinions with little regard to trying to change someone’s mind. They’re simply putting it out, will do so maybe once or twice and then move on to the next thing.
However, there are those of who have a bit of a tougher time with expressing opinion(s) and just leaving it at that. Not that they have to do it that way, but some are a little more aggressive with sharing their thoughts and are less tolerant about not only those who do not agree with them, but those who they don’t agree with.
Sure, things can get a little heated, especially when people don’t see eye-to-eye. I’m no psychologist, but I honestly feel that the deeper we get into our own feelings and thoughts, the harder it is for us to get why someone would disagree with us. Especially if there seems to be a lack of understanding.
The problem comes in when people think that for a person to disagree with them equals that that person is declaring them to be “wrong.” Even though many of us are adults and should be very clear on what the word “opinion” means, it doesn’t take long before this creeps into the mind.
It could be something as simple as this:
“I like cheese.”
“Well, I don’t.
“Cheese isn’t healthy for you.”
“Well, cake and ice cream isn’t healthy for you either and I saw you eating that the other day.”
Now as simple of a beginning to a conversation as this may seem, an intelligent adult can probably foresee how this could progress to get pretty heated, especially considering the topic. The first person likely feels they are being told that they are “wrong” for liking cheese because of what the other person said. So naturally (which leads to my point of writing this blog post), the first person snaps back with something basically to say, “Well if this is so ‘wrong,’ why did I see you do nearly the same thing yourself?” You can pretty much see where it goes from there.
I don’t think I have to explain just how crazy things have gotten with politics. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you already know. So this isn’t about that.
This is also not about who you’re voting for.
This will not be me telling you to vote one way or the other.
This will not be me wagging my finger at you Dikembe Mutombo-style and expecting everyone to sit in a circle, singing “Kum-ba-ya.”
This will not be saying that everyone should agree with each other.
What this is about is all the broken-up friendships as a result of being on opposite sides of politics.
I’m an intelligent man. I understand that many of the “friends” we make on social media are largely acquaintances. For most of us, the vast majority of those on our friend lists aren’t exactly people we are expecting to become our soulmates or lifelong best friends with. For this reason, it’s just as easy to “unfriend” certain people as it was to request them as friends in the first place. Of course, with others, it’s a little more involved.
People are being very ugly with each other and that’s putting it mildly. But even for the short period of time that I’m on social media, just about every day, I see someone mentioning unfriending someone over not only political beliefs, but their behaviors in general.
This is also not to say you’re “wrong” if you are one of those people. The option is there for us to use if need be.
So what exactly am I saying?
I wish people didn’t have to be so nasty toward each other over this. One thing I can say is that at this stage of the game, there is very little someone can say that hasn’t already been said. As passionate as many are about politics, there is nothing new that someone could mention that they haven’t already said once before. So, much is being repeated.
The fact that this has caused so many to want to remove someone from their lives that they once thought enough to add just saddens me. Again, this isn’t to say that people shouldn’t do this. I truly understand why it’s necessary.
But how did we get to this point, and over what? Mere disagreements?
Certain things from these presidential candidates will resonate with different people more than others. I think that’s what a lot of people aren’t getting. For example, I’m in the military. So, if one candidate speaks about the military one way or the other, it will mean more to people like me and others who are military supporters. Those who don’t care as much about the military may be focused on other areas. I honestly think this is where some of the fighting comes from. But there are just too many of us to all care about the same things and to be president, focus has to be on a LOT of different areas.
However, that’s when people began to “dictate” what should be important to us more than something else.
At any rate, the bottom line is that we don’t agree. That’s okay. Life would be a very boring place if we all agreed on everything.
Politics lead to disagreements. No matter how passionate you are about whatever agenda, at the end of the day, there WILL be disagreements. There’s no way around that.
I just wish that it didn’t cause us to go back on something we once thought would be a good thing. It’s always great to meet new people. Social media has become a wonderful place for that. But it has also become a breeding ground for extreme ugliness and hate.
We’ll spend most of our lives disagreeing with someone over something. Once we can understand that for someone to disagree with us doesn’t mean we are “wrong,” the better off we’ll be.
Opinions are never wrong. Some are okay with them and some are not. As adults, we should at least understand THAT much. The sad thing is that this basic concept, one I learned in grade school, is misunderstood by so many people.
And that is really a shame.