Well, after months of US Election activity on my Facebook wall, coupled with hearing the opinions of others on it, There are two things that have started to really concern me more than the result of the ballots.
It’s not just around elections either.
The first one is simply that people are taking their value and identity from people who don’t personally know them. The success or failure of said person now reflects my success or failure.
Their opinion or way of thinking being like mine now means that I am worth something, or unlike mine means I am worth nothing.
What makes me see this?
I look at the emotional responses of people.
People are angry, hurt and upset by the comments or actions of others who don’t know them. People feel trapped or imprisoned by laws that are or are not made. Even many Christians are throwing Bible verses around as to why this and why that, but when I look I see it done in a way that is so un-christian!
I feel it is wrong however, to allow the circumstances and opinions of others to control my values and emotions through my responses to them.
Secondly, I see that in conflict of opinion, people are not people anymore.
You will note that in either social or mainstream media, if your opinion differs from mine, it must be because either one of us is sexist, racist, a bigot, or some other name that a person comes up with!
Once someone has a label attached to him or her other than ‘person’, he or she start to become more of an object to the label giver than they do a person.
How about I see him or her as a person who just thinks differently?
Is it wrong to have an opinion that differs from those around you? Is it wrong to express it?
Of course not! I do both, and that without leaving my own home!
My wife and I think very differently on many things, but that doesn’t mean that she is any less a person than I am.
When I actually dialogue with her, I discover the reasons that she thinks that way, and whether or not I agree with them, they are still valid reasons.
Can you imagine what would happen if I just called her some name because her opinion was different? I can tell you now, there wouldn’t be any dialogue!
Jonathan Pie in his rant talked about when people don’t have the freedom to express their point of view in discussion without being called names, they will cease discussion and just express their view in a polling booth! At least no one will treat them like they are worth nothing because of their point of view! 1
No matter what, we cannot stop seeing people as people, regardless their points of view! When I do, I stop seeing them for who they really are! I stop seeing them as another human being! 2
There is a lot being thrown around in terms of opinions, and predictions of what will happen since the election and while I’m not against having an opinion, let’s not do it at the expense of de-humanising others.
Let’s keep on seeing people as people, just like us, with dreams, hopes, hurts and a future. I may not agree, but that doesn’t mean I don’t value them or want to understand them. I still may not agree, but I can still respect.
I recall that after the last few elections here in Australia, plenty of people said they would leave the country as the person or party elected would destroy life as we knew it. Nothing has been as bad as they predicted.
Life goes on, but only I can choose how I go along with it.
Do we choose to harbour hatred, grudges or name calling at the expense of relationship? Please no!
Choose well friends, choose well!
2. Leadership & Self Deception – The Arbinger Institute