“Let’s agree to disagree”.
Sure, we’ve all heard it before, but have we heard this phrase been used recently? We live in an era where we can choose to curate the media to our tastes and preferences. This is complimented by intricate Facebook posts that can either begin or end with “Feel free to unfriend me if you disagree.”
What this results in, is a world where we are now surrounding ourselves with only like minded people, and a refusal to hear out the voices of the other side. Maybe these words are hardest to hear, especially in a volatile and polarized political climate where everything truly is black or white, red or blue, right or wrong. In order to better support your argument, one should be able to defend it against the opposition. Or at least, that was the intention of debate anyways.
Freedom of speech, to debate and discuss issues that are controversial is what the cornerstone of democracy is truly all about. If you take away the ability to have two sides of an argument, there is only right and wrong. A quote from the philosopher; Nietzsche, “You have your way, I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” Each one of us is entitled to an opinion, and that opinion is shaped by our morals, ethics, values, worldview, and the pasts that have shaped us into who we are. How are we supposed to judge someone’s opinion before understanding why they believe what they do?
At the end of the day, I believe the best thing to do is to open ourselves up to new viewpoints. Maybe we should engage an a conversation, open up the news article on CNN/NBC/Fox News. Ask ourselves why or why not we disagree with it. One day, this will shift the conversation from WHAT we believe into WHY we believe what we do. Maybe, just maybe, through the power of a conversation, a mutual understanding will be reached or even possibly someone will see the world in a different light.
In a generation of limitless power and capability in our pockets, isn’t it ironic that we use it to access less rather than more? Better yet, let’s put the phones down and pass over the small talk. For once, maybe we can learn from each other.