Boy, this presidential election has been interesting, don't you agree? I'm pretty sure anyone would! It been crazy and entertaining, but also dividing. It's not that division between Americans with their opinions on politics is anything new. In fact, it's always been around.
However, these disagreements seem to be magnified these days. Why? Why is it that we seem so much more "in your face" with our criticisms and judgments about other people's opinions? Well, if you ask me, a huge part of the reason is because of social media.
In the last few decades, there was no social media. Heck, there was not even an internet! So if people disagreed with each other, they had to do it in person. Sure, the mainstream media always feeds us information and opinions, but our personal debates usually consisted of grandma and Uncle Joe shouting at each other from across the dinner table.
These days, it's not just grandma and Uncle Joe fighting over differences of opinion in the privacy of their own homes. Now, you can engage in heated debates with people who live half way across the globe! And you also have a "platform" for spreading your opinions as well. Gone are the days when only a handful of family or friends knew how you felt about important world topics.
Personally, I kind of liked it the way it was before social media. When you're spewing hateful, critical comments at people you barely know (or don't know at all) on social media, it's easy. You can hide behind your computer and not really suffer the consequences of your actions/words like you would have to when you are talking to someone face-to-face.
Let's look at two topics that I feel divide people (I would write about more, but then this article would turn into a book!) One is the presidential election. And the other is the controversy surrounding the legalization of marijuana/cannabidiol.
First, the presidential election. It seems like these day that Republicans and Democrats don't respectfully disagree anymore. Instead of discussing ideas, the attack the character of the candidates - and of the person who has an opposite opinion as themselves. This is not healthy. It doesn't matter who you are voting for, let's extend a hand and actually *listen* to other people's points of view instead of blindly attacking them.
The other issue that I feel really divides people (at least in my experience) is the legalization of marijuana. Some people are violently against it because it's a drug and it kills brain cells and makes people stupid (at least in their opinion). But yet others see it as a very valuable medical tool. Actually, they're both right. So why do they disagree so intensely?
Here is some advice I have for anyone who needs help being kind to others with opposite opinions as yours.
Before you go jumping to conclusions that other people are, in fact, wrong...do a reality check. Is he/she really wrong? And are you 100% sure that you are really right? Many times, there is not an objective right or wrong. Instead, reality is subjective. What you think of as the truth may not be the truth. But what he/she thinks of as the truth might also not be the truth. Why? Because many times there is no ONE truth.
The best thing to do in this scenario is to subscribe to this life philosophy: perception is reality. And while you might disagree with other people's outlook on the world sometimes, it doesn't necessarily make him/her wrong. And it doesn't make you wrong either. Be respectful enough to other people to agree to disagree. You are not the same person, so allow yourselves to be on different pages.
Unfortunately, too many people feel like they need to fight to the death to prove that they are right. But why? Why is it so necessary to steamroll over someone just to "win?" Because guess what? That's not winning. Not really. It's just the illusion of winning.
What is real winning? To me, real winning is acting in such a way that is respectful and loving to all people. I mean, why would you feel good about yourself by trying to make someone else feel wrong and degrading their opinions? I have never understood why people do that.
So if you got nothing out of this article, please, please, take these words to heart. Be kind. Be gentle with your words. Just because someone has a different opinion doesn't make them an idiot or a bad person. Agree to disagree! That's the loving and mature thing to do. So why do so many people have such a problem doing that?
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more information
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place