I’m what some might call apolitical/impartial when it comes to current event issues. I have a tendency to listen to one side of an issue, understand where they’re coming from and agree with them but then hear the other side and do the same thing. It then becomes a sort of tug war. All I want is to be able to figure out what I think is right but anytime I think I have a handle on it I hear someone else’s compelling argument and I start to falter. This is something I’ve struggled with for as long as I can remember and because of this I tend to keep my mouth shut on big button issues. I also do this because I don’t like to make a decision on something until I know all the facts and I have trouble making my opinion on something until I have all the facts which is nearly impossible oftentimes. I don’t want to state my opinion, only to have to change it later because I feel like that would look bad and then I really would look like an impartial flaky type person, which should really be the least of my concerns. Because of this some people out there probably would say I’m wishy washy, while others might say I’m just empathetic. While I used to hate this part of myself I’ve come to except it. I try not to look at it as a bad thing anymore. It means I’ll rarely, if never, be like the people that have sparked this post in the first place. And while I will say that if taken to an extreme this aspect of my personality is bad, as long as it’s not taken to far there is nothing wrong with it.
One of the reason I bring this up is because of a certain issue that has come to light recently that is something I’ve struggled with a lot the past few years. It’s something I’ve been trying to lock down my own feelings on but each new article, opinion piece, etc. that comes out on the subject leaves me confused. This issue has also made me realize how much I hate disagreements, confrontation and anything else like it. I want people to be able to have intellectual conversations and still be friends afterwards. That however can’t happen if during discussion people resort to name calling, cursing, or show disrespect for the other person and their beliefs. That’s really the biggest issue, disrespect. Nowadays, we seem to be surrounded by it and it’s not just young people it’s adults too. The constant bashing and name calling, the more time goes by the worse it seems to get and I partially blame social media for it. Things can so easily and so quickly get blown out of proportion on social media and there’s a certain anonymity to it, where people feel they can say and doing anything because you don’t know the people you’re debating. There is also this ability to start a discussion/debate without having to look at someone in the face which I think is one of the reasons for the disrespect. It’s easy to write something nasty about someone or a group of people when you don’t have to actually interact with them. It’s all very impersonal and because it’s impersonal it’s easy to assume someone’s intentions or beliefs based on a random and probably hastily thrown together comment on some random post. That’s what social media tends to perpetuate. We can say whatever we want without really thinking first and have few repercussions and if necessary it can just deleted or edited.
I’ll be up front at this point and say the thing that got me thinking about all this was the incident in McKinney, Texas that has been all over the news. I have friends who fall to either side of this issue. There are those who are condemning the actions of the police officer and believe that his and the actions of others involved were racist. And then there are those who commend the actions of the officer and believe this is not an issue of race. The friends I have on both sides I respect, there is no animosity towards either. Now while I have made some decisions on my feelings about this issue, I don’t want to go into them because that’s not the reason for this post. The reasoning behind this post is to bring up the degradation of commentary on social issues. I suppose you could say these are just the ramblings of an introverted impartial bystander. Which some will probably use an insult. It’s just tough for me to see all this indifference towards others opinions, especially among my friends. So often I see people posting things and I wonder if they read it all the way through, because surely if they had, they wouldn’t have posted it.
Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t voice your opinions on things, on the contrary I think you should. I just think everyone needs to really take a step back and decide why they are posting something or what good will it do. Like our parents always told us if you can’t say something nice don’t say it at all. Why can’t we practice a little more “walk in their shoes” or at least try not resort to vulgar ways of expressing ourselves. You can express your opinion without treating the other person like dirt for expressing their’s. To often I think we forget to look at things from someone else’s perspective, which we should always do. If not to at least make sure we are seeing them as fellow human beings then to at least help us see the fault in our own arguments. Now I know it’s impossible to not at some point hurt someone’s feelings, or offend someone. There is always someone out there who is going to be offended by your opinion, sometimes they may be right to be offended and other times they won’t be. However, I think how we respond to that offense is what will make all the difference. If we return fire with fire it will only lead to a further breakdown of conversation.
In the end I’m not sure how much sense I made. Hopefully someone will be able to make sense of my ramblings. While I know my nature is to try and not take sides and see the best in people I know that at some point I have to take a stand. Everyone eventually has to take a stand but I will not let that stand turn into a way for me to try and degrade or bash someone else. I am proud of the fact that I want to listen and hear everyone’s opinions and that while I may have an opinion I may choose not to share it. That does not make me a bad person. What would make me a bad person is if I chose not to divulge my opinion because I’m afraid of what others will think or that they will choose to distance themselves from me for that opinion. When it comes to sharing our opinions the way we do it should come from a motivation to improve others lives and make them better, to love others and not to hate, and to show them our opinions so that they may grow and in return be open and respectful while listening to our own opinion.
Who knows maybe my opinion on all this will change down the road. I’m only 24 and I still have a lot of growing to do but I’m okay with that. I’m finally getting to a place where I’m okay with the fact that I will never know everything, it’s impossible and that a good 50% of the time (at least) i will probably change my mind on something down the road. And that does not make me a flake, that makes me human.