I’ve known a lot of people of different ethnicities, religions, backgrounds, etc. The common theme in all these people is that we all seem to want the same thing. I want my community, country, and world to be better, safer places for everyone. This is what we all want. Unfortunately, something else we all seem to want is not having our views challenged, particularly by people we consider allies.
I’m quite a liberal guy, but I don’t buy into anything just because it fits into the liberal box. In fact, I find many liberals distasteful because I don’t believe they actually walk their talk. For example, blaming Islam for violence is wrong, but blaming Christianity for violence seems perfectly acceptable. I don’t understand how that equation works, and I don’t buy into it. That’s not to say conservatives are immune to hypocrisy because they certainly are not. What troubles me is that all sides seem more interested in defeating their opponents than trying to improve life on the planet.
I often speak against hatred and oppression. I also offer comment and criticism of people with whom I generally agree, but I hope to strengthen their voices. This is not so common in our current culture. I have several conservative friends who freely post their beliefs on social media. I rarely, if ever, debate them on these because I have no interest in strengthening their arguments and know that I will not be able to persuade them. I will point out weaknesses in liberal arguments and tactics in the hope of improving them, but this is often met with silence or anger.
I invite healthy debate from anyone. I am quite open to persuasion, but that art seems lost in today’s society. I hear nothing from people I’d expect to want to argue with me. I mostly hear from people who generally agree but have some issue with my message. I would welcome this criticism, but unfortunately I find it quite unhelpful. It typically takes two forms:
- “Don’t publicly criticize public figures for their public comments and/or actions.” – For one thing, I don’t have access to speak to them privately. For another, I believe it’s important that their admirers (including me) openly recognize when they’re falling down and publicly help lift them up. I would appreciate this same help. We are all flawed human beings, and there is nothing wrong with acknowledging that fact.
- “Don’t say that.” – This is the most common and least helpful. If I’m mistaken in my opinion, please persuade me. I’d be willing to accept an alternative, but it’s rarely offered. This feedback gives me the option of saying exactly what I already said or of saying nothing. Given the choice, I will speak. If you want to help me speak more clearly and more strongly, I’m quite open to that.
I will likely share some opinions that some will not like. Please feel free to present your argument. Just please keep it civil. Finger-pointing, inflaming, and guilt-tripping will get us nowhere. I welcome polite disagreement. I appreciate the help.