Agreeing to Disagree: A Lost Art Part II

In the second half, I propose some ideas and strategies to help facilitate a more peaceful way to debate, and to get along over the holidays, and honestly, any time of the year 😉

Really Listen to What The Other Person is Saying

As said in the part I, really make the effort to see why they hold the views they doIt’s not because they want to sound like an ignoramus and don’t care if their idea is immoral or foolish! People often have heartfelt reasons, aside from the virtue signalers, for their opinions and beliefs. Maybe they had a bad (or good) experience related to the issue (ex. “My brother was mistaken for a criminal….”, “I’ve known many awesome Syrian refugees through my charity work…”). This doesn’t mean their views are correct, but one can appreciate better where they’re coming from and why they hold them.

Criticize the Ideas, Not The Person Holding Them

Ad-hominem attacks get you nowhere! They prove nothing, and only create more tension, division, and a resolve to not listen to your points! Screaming “Well, you’re a racist bigot!” will not convince Uncle Steve to change his mind about welfare policies… Supplying statistics to the contrary, or citing sources for your side of the argument however, will get you much farther. You can pummel an idea into the ground all you want, but the person holding them still deserves common courtesy and respect.

Consider Their Points, Don’t Just React

A knee jerk reaction does nothing for you either! Letting emotion cloud your rational mind weakens you tenfold in any debate! Don’t virtue signal some superficial slogan, actually consider what they’re really saying, not just your automatic straw-man of what they’re saying… 😉 (Ex. Shouting “No one is illegal!!!” When the person meant one’s immigration status, NOT one’s humanity!)….

Never Cross The Line Into Insults or Threats!

This one is a must! Ad hominem attacks, again, get you no where and will only get you an enemy! In addition however, actually threatening people crosses so many lines! People should not be afraid to voice their opinion due to fears of violence, ostracism, lost jobs, etc..etc… People don’t deserve to have their families terrified, their reputations smeared, or vile insults hurled at them or again, their families due to disagreements! And yes, even their children attacked! How would YOU feel if it were you and your family??? If you don’t stand up for others being attacked, then who will stand up for you when your opinions are targeted?…

Pick Your Battles

Sometimes, it’s okay to agree to disagree… Not every issue is worth getting into a deep debate about and drain your energy! Not every comment at dinner you want to refute has to be 😉 Save the debate for issues that really matter to you, comments that really get to you, not just irk you a little. Don’t be a snowflake offended perpetually and having to start a fight to “correct” those who “trigger” you with their “microaggressions”! Save the righteous indignation for a better time, a better occasion than Grandma’s dinner, or your friends’ hangout, hold your tongue at the work New Year’s party etc…etc… Just let the loonies rant away, while you remain classy and diplomatic!

Don’t Bring It Up!!!

There’s a time and place for politics and religion! A mixed gathering often isn’t the time! The debate team, a blog, activism, in the classroom on the subject, around like minded people, and such can be 🙂 Work, that party, the holidays and other family events… not so much! No matter what sides we’re on ideologically, I hope it’s a non partisan thing to say we should try to find common ground with people and learn to get along and allow many viewpoints! The real “diversity” we need to advocate for, is diversity of thought!

I hope this list helps, and please, add your own ideas, experiences etc… in the comments! 🙂

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(Finding common ground is a pro tip!!!)

Agreeing to Disagree: A Lost Art Part I

Around this time of the year, more friends and families are getting together to celebrate the holiday season, and with it of course, bring a myriad of different viewpoints! Most families, (unless everyone is of one hive mind…) have members with all different perspectives, experiences, and yes, opinions! Inevitably, not all opinions are let’s just say….compatible with each other! You know the rest of the story: The drama! The fighting! The heated “discussions” of the finer points on why you’re completely, totally and undeniably “wrong!” This year, and probably last year as well, our country’s political polarization didn’t help at all 😉 Nowadays, it’s Left vs. Right, white vs. black, gay vs. straight, women vs. men, believer vs. non-believer, etc…etc… This wedge in society, not helped at all by very highly contentious issues being brought out in a frank manner for the first time with Trump saying what he feels as well and the Leftist backlash, can get people shall I say too involved, and absorbed in them! This divide within our nation festers, but must go somewhere, and too often, at the family dinner table!

Now, the opponent is not only factually wrong, but morally wrong! People have literally unfriended friends off social media, alienated family, even shunned and ostracized their close friends over political disagreements cast as incompatible moral faults! And it seems to have only gotten worse! Thing is, most of this unfortunately seems to be mostly one sided… Think for a moment: When was the last time a conservative person shunned you, ostracized you, even shouted in your face if you held a moderately liberal position? Did they try to engage, maybe even vigorously debate with you, or actually get angry with you as a person, not just your ideas?!

However now, think again to many liberals… How many have you seen, experienced personally, and now in the news, screaming at, even threatening and crossing the line to violence over an opposing viewpoint! Just look at the attacks on Carlson’s family and his daughter! Look around at the Antifa riots, all the conservatives afraid to be open about their opinions due to shunning, ostracism, violence, fear of getting fired or held back in a job, losing friends and family over politics etc… etc… Now honestly ask yourself, if liberal, have you felt that way? Really??? Have you felt fear of losing your job, your friends and family, even fearing for your physical safety over holding a liberal view? Because if you are, you’re the exception in a society where every public school, college, employer, official institutions, the mainstream media, TV shows, movies, etc… openly espouse liberal views! I have personally known and spoken with many conservatives in real life, and online, and about all of them felt like they were “taboo” in society even if brave enough to be openly conservative.

What could possibly make people feel such uncontrolled vitriol, riots, threats, violence, vile language and such is justified towards those one disagrees with??? I think we know the answer: Seeing your opponent as in essence an “opponent”, someone who is your literal enemy, who must be “defeated”! Seeing a person as being immoral for having an opinion, not just illogical or uninformed. Trouble is, the Left seems to be the majority on this one! Writing people off their list for having Conservative view points. Labeling their own family or (former) friends as being “racist” “sexist” “homophobic”, “trans-phobic” etc… etc… rather than listening to their actual arguments, not letting one’s children get to know their own relatives because they have different viewpoints than you want to raise your children to have! Even, and I’m not kidding, making sweatshirts with crude slogans, just to make a more derisive atmosphere during the holidays!

Thing is, when did it get this bad? When did we decide it’s okay to demonize, and shun the people closest to you, who you should cherish, over a disagreement? There used to be a thing called “agreeing to disagree”! When did everything become a moral not just political issue and it’s “your side or the bad side…”??? Just because Aunt Susie doesn’t want more Syrian refugees coming into the country doesn’t mean she hates “brown people” and Muslims! Just because Grandma prefers young women remain virgins until marriage and doesn’t believe in divorce doesn’t mean she has “internalized misogyny” or that she’s a judgmental bigot who will shun you from the family dinner if you didn’t/did either of those things respectively! Just because Uncle Joe is in the NRA doesn’t mean he’s for unregulated use/sales of guns to unqualified people who can’t handle them properly, nor is he a “baby killer” who only cares about the sale of guns, and not their potential to take lives!

I will add one last thing for my fellow conservatives: Same goes for you too! Despite much of the loony left, do consider why some of your Liberal family members and friends hold the opinions they do! Your niece who’s in college and went to public schools k-12 honestly may not have been exposed to your viewpoint, except as the narrow minded wrong one! Your sister may feel that refugees genuinely aren’t bringing danger in with them and being altruistic in her own life, even to a fault, just has that opinion as an extension of her goodwill. Maybe your friend has seen true racism, and now is extra-sensitive to it, growing up in an environment of real bigotry. Maybe your friend grew up in a family who shunned him for being gay, so now feels it is his mission to be a staunch LGBT advocate, even to extremes sometimes! Point is, while I don’t give their ideologies a free pass, it helps to understand where a person could be coming from when they hold a view you don’t understand why they hold. Yes, folks: Not all Liberals are complete militant loonies who hold views just to virtue signal ( although plenty as we know, do!). Some do have heartfelt reasons for their positions, and the best way to persuade them to see our side, and understand us, is to model that courtesy in return. Sincerity deserves sincerity in return, the will to listen to their side too. Maybe if some realize we’re willing to listen to them, they may be willing to listen to us. The best way to get consideration is to model it, and even if you don’t get through, others around you will know who had more elegance, and class I know many, probably more liberals than conservatives from where I’m from, and many of them are my friends and loved family! The difference between them and the loonies we see on the news and in protests, is they can agree to disagree and consider my point of view without demonizing me, and I them 🙂

Does agreeing to disagree mean you can’t stand by your own convictions? No! Certainly not! I certainly will stand by mine, and defend them! However, “defending your convictions” does not include virulent ad-hominem attacks, overt rudeness, provocations to start a heated “debate”, creating awkwardness in mixed company and bringing up derisive topics intentionally when you know that it will upset people! Sometimes, it is best to save the debates for another time… The family holiday or friend’s party is NOT always the best time to be controversial! The holidays are about unity, not division! Peace, not war! Let’s have that Christmas (Oops! Is that too derisive 😉 ) Umm… “Holiday” truce of goodwill, and a restrained tongue! Agree to disagree… Until the holidays are over 😉

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(I love science, so I found this picture hilarious!!!)

Picking Your Battles…

I’m sure many fellow conservatives feel the same way, but often times, it can feel like you against the world! The constant drum-roll of Leftist lunacy, from all different issues, can feel quite overwhelming! So much lunacy, so much denial, so many lies, ad hominem attacks, intimidation, ostracism, it can get to be insane! Indeed, I’ve noticed many fellow conservatives are getting intensely fed up with the insanity, and are going half out of their minds themselves… From the media, public schools, about every news source, TV show, movie, magazine, celebrity, companies, even family and friends, it’s easy to feel surrounded deep behind enemy lines! There are so many fronts, it’s impossible to fight them all at once, but there is a glimmer of hope for reason and common sense to prevail: Picking your battles…

Every parent knows what I mean! Your children will push your buttons, test your patience, surround you on all sides with needs, wants, demands etc… You’re only human, so you have to let some things go! The key is to prioritize; What is important and what isn’t and can be compromised on. That mismatching outfit? Won’t matter in the long run. Running into the street? Yeah, kind of an issue… Dyeing a streak of hair pink? Not so bad… Planning to get wasted at that party? More of a pressing concern… See what I mean? Now, apply the same idea to the Left’s frankly childish demands fit for a toddler! The snowflakes out of touch with reality and how their decisions affect others around them are basically like a small immature child’s, and there are many! Therefore, my motto is “pick your battles” 😉

We can’t always put 200% into fighting every single issue. We can’t always have exactly our way, no one can. We do need to bend, and be flexible on some stuff, but firm on others. Bending does NOT mean giving into every ludicrous demand, but prioritizing what we need to stand our ground, versus what isn’t as pressing an issue for the country. Every conservative will have their own issues they feel they should hold their ground, and those they’re less involved in. This doesn’t mean some issues will be neglected, because there will be others to fight for that issue. We don’t need to overtax ourselves trying to be the advocate for literally every controversy there is! Pick a few important ones to you, and put your energy into those! Let me share with you some of where I bend and stand my ground:

  • Open borders, unvetted immigration and letting in refugees from countries which sympathize with anti-Western religious extremism and terrorism? Nope! Allowing hardworking immigrants who come through legal channels who embrace America while also keeping the harmless parts of their heritage, such as food, clothes, music, traditions that don’t impede on others’ freedoms? Sure! 
  • Allowing consenting adults to marry who they choose even if it’s the same sex? Fine by me… Never being allowed to critique anything whatsoever lest you be labeled “homophobic”? No!
  • Turning a blind eye to broken homes, divorce “just because” and society making excuse after excuse to disregard the children’s emotional trauma, and promoting “any family is a real family” single mothers are just as good as two parent families, children don’t need a father figure, etc..etc…? Heck no! Divorce between childless couples who are adults and aren’t shattering anyone’s foundation for development? Sad, but their call… 
  • Empowering women to help hold coercers in positions of power accountable for unethical coercion? Good idea… Turing that into a political weapon to wield against an opponent, smear every boy and man as  “guilty until proven innocent” on an unsubstantiated word or rumor, casting women as damsels in distress vs. the “predator man”, and ignoring women who allege victimization if not on your side of the aisle? #NotMe!!! 😉
  • Accepting cultural differences in food, music, clothes, different holidays, traditions, etc… that don’t infringe on others? Not an issue… Allowing another culture to overrun our own, denigrating ours while reaping its benefits, setting a double standard where they are immune from criticism, get to create their own laws, treat other minorities, women, children and such as 3rd class citizens, and are romanticized while our own culture, who hosts theirs, is demeaned and cast as the bad guy??? Not in my country!
  • Letting others have the personal freedom to dress and act like the opposite sex? Odd, but okay…. Letting them redefine biological science, teaching children that a man dressed as a woman is a woman merely because he said so, letting biological men go into women’s restrooms and changing areas also allowing perverts to take advantage, ostracizing, persecuting, even making it illegal if someone questions the validity of them being considered an actual man or woman or uses the wrong pronoun, labeling kindergarten age children as transgender because they try on mommy’s lipstick or daddy’s tie one day, and rewriting the rules in sports, the military and in science, and disregarding the experiences of REAL men and women that can only be experienced through that gender??? Not until I gain a Y chromosome!!!
  • Acknowledging the privileges we all have been lucky to have been given in this life, even ones we haven’t earned and realizing some are less fortunate? Not a bad thought… Being guilt tripped into believing it’s YOUR fault others don’t have your same privileges and having the onus put on you to remedy their problems via welfare, reparations, affirmative action etc…etc… simply because you were born with something they don’t have, socially, economically, racially, sexually, gender-wise and while disregarding everything you DID earn…? No! No more fair than blaming them for what they were born with!
  • Having an honest dialogue where all parties can voice their concerns and be taken seriously even if those views seem silly to you? Absolutely! Having one side stereotype the other in vile, condescending, demeaning caricatures and using ad hominem insults to shut them up, deny them jobs, ostracize them from social groups, even family, vilify them in the media and TV, make straw men out of their positions then mock them? Nope! 

And in the spirit of the holiday season…

  • Having “Happy holidays” over “Merry Christmas” on public municipal buildings, or businesses wanting to get as many customers as possible as opposed to just Christian ones, having more generic decorations for winter versus explicitly Judaeo-Christian ones in the public square and in businesses, the work “holiday” party instead of the Christmas party, etc… etc…? Fine by me, I prefer it in a country of separation of church and state, and understand why a business would want to keep its advertising open to everyone or a workplace not making assumptions about the religions of their employees… Freaking out like a triggered snowflake if someone says “Merry Christmas”, trying to push “inclusivity” on private citizens and businesses who do choose to say “Merry Christmas”, throwing a hissy fit over red and green decorations and diving into complete over the top paranoia where any decorations now must be forbidden in the name of separation of church and state and “inclusivity”??? NO!!! There is a healthy middle ground between “Christian theocracy” and “Anti-Holiday PC dictatorship”! 😉

Those are some, but certainly not all of my examples of where I bend and stand firm! What are yours?

Also, an important tip, don’t try to expend all your energy at once into one thing!  Sometimes, letting some things go, can give you the strength to go all out when you really feel you should speak up! Yes, we have had losses, but don’t let the losses make you forget the wins! See, the Left wants us to feel we’re beat, wants us to feel like we’re exhausted and should just give in, but we shouldn’t and aren’t! There is a silent majority out there. They may not blog about it, tweet, post on Facebook, or even talk politics openly with friends or even family. But they spoke loud and proud at the polls in 2016 😉 The “silent majority” however, must no longer be silent, and we must encourage fellow conservatives to come out of the shadows and be heard! Now that IS something worth fighting for 😉

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