All or Nothing

I think I’ve figured out one of the biggest reasons the world seems to be on fire.  People have forgotten how to compromise.  We live in an all or nothing world, and it’s killing us.  We must all agree on everything or we can’t be friends.  We have to belong to the same religion or we don’t deserve to exist.  We feel like we must be heard fairly, but we must also totally agree, and make a move in a singular direction or nobody can have peace.  It’s not supposed to be this way.

mlk-jrOn social media, you see people asking to be unfriended if your political beliefs differ from theirs.  These days, our opinions only matter as long as we agree.  So-called friends have indeed dumped me for a mere difference of opinions.  I have news for you.  That’s not what friendship is.  It’s certainly not polite, either.  I think the world could use a lesson in good manners.  Etiquette is more than chewing with your mouth closed or knowing which fork to use for the salad course at dinner.  It’s about respecting those around you, too.  That’s why topics such as politics and religion are not considered polite conversation.  Why do we intentionally offend each other by making demands of how someone prefers to live their life?  None of us care too much for that.  Don’t we all know that by now?

On the world stage, countries go to war with each other over policy, religion, and culture.  I could understand if the policies in question have human rights implications, but often, that’s not the case.  Each faith teaches some form of tolerance, yet refuse to be tolerant themselves.  Every religion fundamentally believes that it is the only true faith.  There’s no room for discussion, yet there probably should be.  I believe we can all learn from one another.

In America, people are rioting in the streets.  I’m all for rising up against oppression or just speaking your mind, but violence is only met with more violence.  It accomplishes nothing except bringing more anger and strife.  I can’t imagine a business staying where looting becomes an issue, for instance.  These people are destroying their own neighborhoods and making things worse.  Folks, there are consequences to every action we take in life.  It’s time we all started to see that.mlk-jr-quote

Keep in mind, too, that most influential people that actually accomplished permanent change managed to do it without violence.  The key word there is permanent.  The biggest problem, in my opinion, is that people don’t actually know their history.  It’s simple, really.  If something was tried before and it didn’t work, it’s probably not going to work on another try using the same method.  Take socialism, for instance.  Seriously.  Go look it up if you aren’t aware of the cons.  If you lean liberal, I would advise a specific search since your preferred search engine is already biased from your search history.  Perhaps, you could start with the USSR before the fall of the Iron Curtain, the real story of the first thanksgiving at Plymouth, or Modern day Greece and its financial woes.

So, what about those that don’t have their facts straight?  How many violent protests have we seen lately based on disinformation?  I’ll give you a hint.  It’s a lot.  They’re fighting so hard for a cause with no basis in fact.  How confident are you that you had all the facts in your last argument about politics, religion, or current events?  Regardless of who’s right or wrong, we usually come down to ultimatums.  Nobody likes those, but sure are giving them out freely lately.  Even when faced with the cold hard facts that show we’re wrong, we stick to our story and get louder.  We can’t possibly be wrong about anything, can we?  I’ve got news for you.  We’re all human.  We fail.  We’re wrong sometimes.  It happens to all of us.

Now you have famous folks from all over giving their two cents in these matters.  Some have legitimate points, but they’re falling on deaf ears.  Not only are most people’s minds already made up, the commentary from the elite and famous are made in such a way that they naturally draw more ire than sympathy.  They use strong and ugly words to get their point across.  You see people we used to look up to and admire bringing harsh words that we wouldn’t want our children to overhear in conversation.  Then some threaten to leave the country to flee an imagined apocalypse.  By far, the majority of these stars are still here making cutting jabs in desperation hoping that they weren’t entirely wrong in their now infamous statements.  Sorry, but there’s no way to save face now, Hollywood.  You’re using your influence to make matters worse.  Instead of finding peaceful solutions, America is now acting out of hatred without a care to finding that peaceful solution or the truth.  Your behavior is unbecoming and unproductive.  Just stop.  You should be using your influence to enact positive change.  If you want to make a difference, shut up and do something worthy of my attention.  There’s still a chance to be my hero instead of a disappointment.  Of course, if you’re not interested in doing that for Americans, feel free to leave the country.  You’re certainly some of the few left with the finances to turn tail and run.

mlk-jr-quote-2So, why argue or fight at all?  For some of us, it’s all or nothing.  If I don’t totally agree on the topic at hand, there is no compromise.  We can’t stop arguing with each other until the other side gives in and totally agrees.  Sorry, but the world doesn’t work that way.  Really.  It just doesn’t work.  We don’t have to agree, but we can compromise or agree to disagree.  You’re allowed to practice your preferred religion and vote for who you want.  So am I.  I have my way of doing things.  You have your way of doing things.  We don’t have to do everything the same way.  We are each individuals with free will.  Please, don’t try to impose on mine or try to bully me into agreeing with you.  Chances are, the person you’re bullying will agree just to leave the conversation and will have been influenced away from your argument instead of for it.  Now, we’re back to square one.  That wasn’t very productive was it?

In this world, not everything has to be black or white.  There are many shades of grey to choose from.  There’s no reason to end friendships, riot, or shoot at each other because we don’t see eye to eye on everything.  There has to be some middle ground.  If only we could endeavor to find it.  Our forefathers did.  Has our society degraded too far to do as they did?  I hope not.  I’m terrified for my son’s future.  For his sake, I hope we can all find some solutions to today’s conflicts.  If not, we will have reverted to a much more primitive state.  That’s nothing to be proud of.  That’s 250 years of history completely ignored in the United States, and the dumbing down of 321 million people.  I look at the headlines today, and I ask my self, “what have we done?”

What have you done today to find the middle ground and make peace?  Be the change you want to see in this world.  Make it something you’re proud of, or our children will pay the price by learning from our example.  On this day commemorating the birth of Martin Luther King Jr., let’s learn from his example.  No, it wasn’t easy, but with patience and peaceful protests, huge steps towards equal rights were set permanently into place.  So, be kind to one another, and stick with love.  Hate is too great a burden to bear.

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