They say there is more that unites us than divides us.
Let’s start with the fact that we’re all human. That alone should be enough of a leveller. We start life with no pre-conceptions of others, and are shaped by our environment, influences and experiences. All of us are flawed in some way or another and we should therefore be more tolerant of anyone else’s personal shortcomings.
But when it comes to opinions it’s evident we’re becoming increasingly marginalised.
What’s wrong with someone having a different point of view? It allows us to consider both sides of an argument in our quest to reach a balanced understanding of important issues. But many of us are too quick to accept anything presented as fact without verifying its validity through reliable and unbiased sources - making us vulnerable to fake news sites or groups with a narrow, militant agenda.
About the only thing that prevented the recent Women’s March descending into total farce - because the individual agendas were so jumbled there were actually areas of moral contradiction - was that they were united by a common cause, albeit that the banner of oppression they were rallying under was incongruous with the freedom of speech and right to demonstrate they were clearly being allowed to exercise.
Debate is healthy but it’s getting personal now and we need to be hyper careful when we find ourselves disagreeing with family, friends or anyone else whose views we usually value on other matters. We should listen with open minds and in a spirit of love and respect or we’ll be playing into the hands of those who are out to divide, corrupt or even destroy us at the core level of human relationship. No cause is worth alienating those with whom we share blood or a mutual bond. By all means try to bring them around to understanding your point of view, but don’t reject them for not adopting it. We will never agree with anyone about everything, so accept that they are as entitled to their opinion on some matters as you are yours.
We often discover that some of the convictions we held in our youth weren’t fully formed and we’ve gone on to take a completely different stance on issues we used to be ignorant or blinkered about. So recognise our own susceptibility to misguidance before allowing ourselves to become consumed by the arrogance of certainty that everyone should think as we do at any time - time can make a fool of you. Instead, turn that negativity around and enjoy the warm fuzzies that come with tolerance, compassion and understanding.
None of us know it all. We need each other because we all have different knowledge, skills and strengths. We can create a better society by drawing on diversity to find some middle ground in the interests of serving the greater good. Our leaders should be guardians and effective administrators, working together, not career politicians. Giving way a little, whether at a government or personal level, needn’t be seen as compromise because everyone pays the same price to move forward instead of fracturing into ever more specific belief systems. It doesn’t need to get political. We are stronger united than divided.