Divisive issues are probably always a part of any society, especially a democracy that we enjoy here in the United States. Lately, we’ve been a part of some pretty major situations that have many Americans on opposite sides of the fence. From virus talk to protestors to politics, there’s plenty for us to argue. Maybe this is nothing new, but what does seem a little different lately is our complete lack of ability to even entertain hearing the “other” side. And, let me be clear, it doesn’t matter what side you’re on or what that “other” side is. It’s gotten to the point where I personally won’t even share my thoughts on hardly any issues because I really don’t have the desire to simply be shouted down by an opposing view. My question is, why is it so terrible to see both sides of an issue?
Why can’t we entertain the idea that what happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis was disturbing, unacceptable, deplorable, and shocking — and at the same time — say that police officers are vital for our society?
Why is it so terrible to say that protests and demonstrations are incredibly important in a free society, but also say that destroying property is absolutely wrong?
Why do we “want to kill my grandparents and yours” with coronavirus if someone has the opinion that we can’t be locked in our bedrooms for 18 months? Why can’t it both? Why can’t we say that a virus is a threat that needs to be taken seriously, but also realize that at some point, life needs to continue as normally as we can make it? How is that such a far-fetched idea these days?
Why can’t we have a political conversation without planting our feet in the ground about our stance 1,000 percent of the time? Why is it so terrible to say that our government leaders have done some really good things, while also admitting that our president probably should step away from Twitter? Why can’t both of those thoughts exist?
When it comes to ripping down historical statues, why is it such a crazy concept to realize that we probably do need to take a serious look at some of these statues, and what they represent? But, at the same time, say that vandalizing and destroying them without any real discussion or conversation is probably wrong, too? Why can’t it be both?
Why is this happening? I, personally, think it’s because of how easy it is to shelter ourselves from any opposing views. Social media pages, cable news channels, blogs, etc., are all available that specifically speak to your point of view. You can sit and dwell inside a little protected echo chamber all day, hearing only one argument. After a few days of that, many lose the ability to critically think for themselves. It’s embarrassing to be honest with you.
Despite what your friends tell you, I promise you, it’s OK to realize that many situations can be both. And that if you have an original idea, and think for yourself, it might actually feel good. Just try it once. Or, just continue to scream at others for not aligning perfectly with you. I don’t care either way.
Chris Rhoades is the associate publisher for Enterprise Media Group.