Different is Good.

It’s sad that our differing belief systems have been curated into weapons that are utilized against us.

I want to be clear about something.

This isn’t a page you follow because you agree with everything I say.

That’s impossible. It’s not even what I would want.

We aren’t the same person. For example, you might not agree with my thoughts on vaccinating against the Covid-19 virus or the impact of climate change on our environment. I lean (strongly) toward being a progressive, you might resonate as a conservative.

Wait, keep reading, don’t exit the page yet!

Listen, we might agree on other things, like sports teams or restaurants. We might both agree that The Wire is the greatest television show of all time (It’s honestly really not even that close).

The point is, we have been conditioned only to listen to the voices that can further our own agendas. Anyone who has a differing opinion is now an enemy. I’m guilty of it at times too. I can’t turn on Fox News and take it seriously and I don’t have much interest in Newsmax or OAN. Perhaps you feel the same way about CNN or The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

It’s difficult not to look at someone with a differing belief system and think “what an idiot”. I can admit I’ve had that thought, and worse, many times over the past few years.

But is that the way it should be? Wouldn’t it be more effective if we worked toward a common solution to the issues that we face in this country? Instead, we constantly shoot ourselves in the foot. In reality, are we really even that opposed to each other?

It seems that most topics in America these days have been turned into white-hot button issues. A simple statement that black lives matter turns into a fight about a supposed refusal to acknowledge that all lives matter.

Arguments abound surrounding the effects of climate change on our environment, women’s reproductive rights, the role of government in our communities, gerrymandering, the role our military plays on a global level, whether life exists outside our universe or even if college athletes should be paid (they should).

For whatever reason, it seems like we are arguing over everything.

So what do we do?

My first suggestion is, take deep breaths. When my daughter was younger, we watched a lot of Daniel Tiger. A lot. If you have kids, you may know where I’m going with this. “When you feel so mad and you want to ROAR, take a deep breath and count to four”. It really is sound advice.

I’d say though that maybe we need to count to say, 25?

Next, a realization that we don’t always have to agree is essential. Disagreement doesn’t mean we have to hate each other. Having differing opinions doesn’t mean we’re allowed to avoid seeking common ground either. It just means that we have arrived at contrasting conclusions on issues important to us. It’s sad that our differing belief systems have been curated into weapons that are utilized against us. We should be better than this. We are simply different people. That’s okay. That’s actually very good.

It’s okay to be different and it’s okay for us to accept that. Instead of being miserable trying to fit in, just be happy being you. Just as important, we should be happy letting others be themselves.

After all, why should someone else living their best life bother you?

Finally, we can turn down the temperature a bit. Maybe if we sign off social media for a day, a week, a month, we can start to breathe again. Sometimes it feels like we are a bunch of social media addicts who cannot operate in normal society enough to have a real conversation. We race to our phones to compare ourselves to influencers we don’t know and who really don’t care about us. We don’t have to be the same, it’s refreshing to be unique if you are bold enough to take on that endeavor.

If we do venture to social media or seek information via our news outlets, we should be more inquisitive instead of seeking affirmation of previously held beliefs.

These days, we yell and scream and point fingers via social media but have forgotten how to properly solve anything remotely divisive. We are quick to point out the failures of the “other side”, on social media of course, but lack the skills to effectively communicate our thoughts.

We strive to model our lives like those perfectly filtered and curated images we see in our Instagram stories but ignore those sitting across the table at us, like actual human beings who we can actually converse face to face.

Have we become that lazy?

We’ll always argue about our views. It’s within the fabric of this nation. We get to debate, argue, get mad at each other. But, we shouldn’t be tearing each other apart because of our views. Our differences in opinions are what should be driving us to be better. If we attain our agenda by destroying those around us, are we really winning?

Don’t read anything on this site to cement your own beliefs. Don’t do that anywhere. Challenge yourself to have an open mind to someone you thought you disagreed with. Be ready to change your mind.

That’s okay too.

-JG