Opinion Submission by Arthur J.
Division is a plague that impacts the entire world.
In our nation, there is division over race, equality, abortion, gender, how government should function, and the economy.
It is natural for people to have strong views and opinions that differ from those of others. That is part of the construct that made America great; and with the freedom of speech, we have been able to vocalize our views and pray that some people hear them. I am being deliberate in not making this opinion column political. It is not intended to be such; but it is intended to be a strong reminder of the reality in which we should live and of principles everyone should universally be able to agree on.
All are one
We should all be able to agree that everyone is an individual pursuing their own experience in this world. Everyone should have the right to pursue what makes them happy, as long it does not deprive another. That seems relatively basic and fundamental, but I believe we forget about it. We may apply a label to ourselves with one political party or another; but regardless of that label, we should be able to stand united as a people sharing this experience.
No reason for hate
There is no reason to hate others over ideological differences. Even if two people disagree entirely with each other, they should be able to have a discussion and walk away with at least mutual respect for the other’s point of view. The problem is we don’t listen. We interrupt!
We have this valuable freedom of speech, but we are neglecting our obligation to hear.
When you see two people with opposing views on TV, you see them preparing to rebuttal or restate their point rather than actively listening. I firmly believe much of the division in this country happens because we do not have dialog. I think we can all agree — at a minimum — that it is respectful to hear someone out, even if you disagree. To be fair, you would expect the same in return.
Rather than having an open dialog, we shout and demand change; but we don’t sit down with the very people we want to think differently. Often family members, coworkers, and others we interact with hold back their thoughts, out of fear of destroying a relationship.
I think we can agree that even if we disagree, individuals should be able to speak freely. In exchange they should be willing to be followed by an individual of an opposing viewpoint, or world view.
I challenge everyone to unite under the understanding that we are all individuals, who have an inherent right to pursue our own destinies.
Let’s challenge one another to listen to each other, even in disagreement.
We should realize that while religious faiths may differ, we can all be respectful of another’s reverence towards their own god.
If we can attempt to perform these three duties, it is my firm belief, that our nation, and the world, would be better equipt to recognize each individual’s equality.