I Disagree With You
People are complicated. Well, they should be.
When I can’t pin down a person’s opinions after a quick chat, it warms my heart. I like learning that a liberal wants strong borders, or that a conservative is pro-choice…not because of the opinions themselves, but because it proves the beautiful and often-chaotic truth about people:
Humans are intricate. To actually understand someone usually requires a series of deep and curious conversations.
Of course, this is not always the case. We all know the people who, for example, are strident Republicans on each and every issue.
Or 22-year old me–When I was in college, it didn’t matter what the topic was; I was a bleeding, card-carrying, Twitter-activist liberal. I didn’t have to do research on opposing viewpoints. For I was a liberal. It is I, Liberal Man.
Only once I left my college bubble, began listening to and reading more conservative thoughts, and stopped seeing every political/social discussion as a debate I had to win…did I finally come to the above realization.
People are complex in and of themselves. But our opinions muddy the waters even more because the major issues we face are never black and white. Despite the vibe on social media or mainstream news networks, all of our major political and social issues require numerous, lengthy, patient conversations. This is fucking difficult, which is a problem. Until we face it, people will continue to flock to Twitter, FaceBook comments, or 5-minute CNN blurbs to duke it out.
This is why podcasts have become so popular. A single episode of the Joe Rogan Experience gets played anywhere from 100 to 300 times an entire day of CNN.
Why? Because people are realizing that listening to others have genuine conversation for three hours is about 100 to 300 times more informative (and transformative) than hearing four people shout at one another on a panel or in a comment thread.
What specifically do you believe? Why do you believe it? How did you come to that conclusion? What are the strongest counterarguments to your views? What evidence do you have to support your claims? What counter-evidence exists?
Answering these questions takes a TON of time. But in order to make progress as a society, we simply must be able to answer them.
Shouting in people’s faces won’t make them hear you. Calling people bigots or idiots because they disagree with you won’t bring them to your side.
Instead of saying, “HOW COULD YOU THINK THAT??”, we could try, “Oh, I actually disagree with that. How did you come to think that?”
I’ve said this in the past and people did not like it. All I’m advocating for is that we listen to one another, especially when we disagree.
People are complex. Who knows…perhaps we agree on a lot more than we realize. Only one way to find out.