Division has reached crisis proportions. The sea of discordant voices is at fever pitch: gun control versus the Second Amendment, anti-abortion versus pro-choice, Democrats versus Republicans. Say anything, and you’re bound to be greeted by wails of defiance. Women in combat? Health care for the poor? Phooey! I’m telling you, if Jesus came back tomorrow and offered the world everlasting peace, there would be complaints. And not just low-level muttering, either. Shouts. Screams. How dare you! In many ways, the human race is in a state of permanent toddlerhood. We’re in our “terrible twos”…forever, cursed with a permanent level of discontent with virtually everything.
Enough, already. I’ve had it. Facebook, which started out as a serendipitous connection to past friends and faraway family, has turned rancorous with opinion. I can’t stand it anymore. But what is the option? To not engage is just as detrimental. To take oneself out of the equation changes nothing. So?
So I do this. I do the only thing I can do. Like Cassandra of mythology, consider me a harbinger. I predict that if you keep haranguing people about your unwillingness to participate in even the discussion of gun control, you will find yourself on the wrong side of history. I predict that not listening to “the other side” — whatever that is — will leave you stranded, quite alone in your own miserable bubble. I predict that insisting on being right, rather than being compassionate, will not end well for you. Because we all need compassion. And if you don’t give it, you don’t get it. Period.
I get it. We all take our beliefs seriously. And that’s fine…good, even. You should feel strongly about things. But let’s think about how we express ourselves. Are we leaving room for calm, rational discussion or flatly stating that ours is the only way to think? Are we dismissive of others’ opinions? Do we react with openness to others or with reflexive anger?
Don’t think I’m excusing myself from this discussion. If there were ever a queen of “I’m right-ness,” it’s me. But I have been pushing myself to listen more and judge less. I don’t get into arguments on Facebook if I can help it. I don’t argue with those who will not listen. It’s an ongoing job and one I take seriously. Maybe I can’t change anyone’s opinion. But maybe I can get them to agree to listen. That’s a win-win if there ever was one.
Today, let’s all do one thing: Let’s remember that we don’t know everything. Only God does. And He might not agree with our opinions. Let’s leave the door open, just a crack, to let other people of varying ideas and stances in. Let’s remember that if we don’t start agreeing on something, we will end up with nothing. And no one wants that, right?