Sunday, September 18, 2005

Adding Respect

I have been noticing the way we talk to one another, particularly to those we do not agree with. We no longer speak to people we don't agree with with respect. I have a friend who is a Republican. In fact, he's my chiropractor. Nice man except we disagree on politics. However he's never disrespectful about it. He used to tell me John Kerry jokes and I'd say you know I heard that one but it was George Bush in the punch line and we'd both laugh... Yes he gloated after the election, but he does live in a blue state surrounding by democrats, so you have to expect that. Looking at his background, I can even understand why he votes republican and while I disagree with that, I don't hold it against him. Even if I did, I can't imagine thinking he personally is an idiot or some stupid fool for believing what he does. While he doesn't agree with my views on the Clintons, Kerry and Howard Dean, he can respect me enough that outside of the occassional, "Ya know, I heard this joke and thought of you..." comment he doesn't poke fun at me or tell me I'm a stupid liberal.

In order to stop being so polarized, I think we need to respect the other side as human beings. There are a fair number of people who write things to anger the other side and inflame the war, but it's important to recognize them for who they are. We don't need to be divided. I think everyone wants a better world. If we can listen (I just keep harping on that don't I?) then maybe we can work something out that's better than anything any 'side' wants.

We are diverse. This country, like it or not, is about diversity. We do have freedom of speech and yes that means ALL sides, not just the one we like. We have that because the founders of the United States knew that we couldn't have a truly free country by the people and for the people without it. While this may mean that we should then expect to hear things we don't like, we should also use it responsibly. We need to speak up for what we believe in but leave room for others to disagree with us. We need to respect them and their right to think for themselves.

If we get back what we put out, the only way people will ever respect our views is if we can respect theirs. That does not ever mean we have to agree with them. It just means we don't have to denigrate their character for believing what they believe and speaking out about it. The more often we can do that, the more we'll find that others start respecting our views. Maybe we'll even start listening to each other.


Blogger cube said...

More people should think like that but they don't. I don't see any end in sight for the lack of courtesy & politeness in our society.

11:00 AM  
Blogger briwei said...

Good thoughts. I think the first step is to do away with the tyranny of the majority, though. The majority is a very slim one, yet they act as though the minority's opinions, values, and desires are insignficant. To my mind, when half - 1 of the country feels a certain way, they should not be completely ignored simply because the other side is half + 1.

3:37 PM  
Blogger Bonnie said...

Briwei, I think you are right and I hope that as part of the respect and courtesy, both sides would realize it. I tend to notice the right wing people inflaming the lefties more, but I try to think that's my bias. I know it goes the other way as well.

The US is supposed to be about free speach and it would be nice if we encouraged it instead of using our freedom to inflame and ridicule those we don't agree with.

4:03 PM  

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