The longer I live the more I realize how little I know about anything.
I have gone through life assuming that while we do not always agree on everything, it is ok to disagree.
I always thought opposing dialogue was valuable in teaching empathy for others’ viewpoints and healthy in that it causes us to examine our perspectives from different angles at the same time as it enables us to develop different and more compelling ways with which to present our argument.
I have always enjoyed passionate debate and, indeed, some of my closest friends are people with whom I disagree with on almost everything.
Please don’t tell anyone but I even have a friend who is a Liberal.
Some people have even called me argumentative
How is that possible?
There, I think I’ve made my point about how flexible and broad-minded I really am.
So I was quite surprised when the following drama played itself out earlier this week.
I was coffeeing with the same group of folks I frequently chat with early in the morning before facing the rigors of the day. Our conversations are usually limited to local events and are fairly benign in nature.
Somehow this day the conversation turned to political events and the comment was made that we are hapless and helpless victims of big, bad government. Government can do with us as it wishes and we have no opportunity to protect ourselves. In other words, the federal version of ‘you can’t fight city hall’.
I do not agree with this viewpoint and said so. I also made the comment that while it is definitely possible to influence government, doing so requires great effort and that many of us, myself included, would rather sit around a coffee table and whine about the government all the while saying that “somebody should do something about this.
That somebody should be somebody else, but not me, because I’m not going to do it and the reason I’m not going to do it is because – I have to be careful here considering the last time I made this statement – it’s just not important.
In fact when it comes to political change, whining has become a national pastime.
Did I mention that I was forming a new political party – the Apathy Party of Canada? We won’t be running candidates in elections and we certainly won’t bother showing up to vote, but boy, will we whine.
But I digress. It seems the mere act of disagreeing with this person was sufficient to induce rage. He even muttered something to the effect of “I better not say anything or I will lose my temper.”
Throughout these postings we have discussed how our opinions and beliefs are formed by the meaning we place on information.
I believe this passionately and further believe that just because I believe something to be so does not mean that it is so. It’s just my belief.
As humans we grow when we embrace differences and shrink when we limit our thinking to the parameters of our beliefs.
But to get angry, to the point of losing your temper, when someone disagrees with you? Yikes!!!
You %$*@ better agree with me.
Till we read again.