So recently my brother Nathaniel started his own blog. He's been posting like crazy and it makes me feel like I'm neglecting my own. Not to mention the fact that my other brother Michael started posting a bit more regularly to his own blog. So, for the last few weeks I've been thinking about what I want to talk to y'all about and I've decided that I want to tell the world to just CHILL OUT ALREADY!
Lemme explain. Over the last couple of months or so, I've noticed that people in society tend to get really worked up over some things that, in the grand scheme of things, don't matter. Or we get worked up and angry over things that we don't fully understand. Or we get worked up because one person says or does something that we personally disagree with and we make that into a bigger deal than it is. Why do we do that? What is it that makes us get so angry about these stupid things? Seriously, I don't know, can somebody tell me?
Anyway, a good example is found in Cecil the Lion. For those of you who don't know, a few weeks back an American Dentist paid a large amount of money to go trophy hunt lions in Zimbabwe. When he got there the guides he had hired illegally baited a lion to come out of a wildlife preserve and the dentist shot the lion. The lion was wearing a tracking collar and had apparently been named Cecil. When the internet found out about this, people were angry. Some people focused on trophy hunting in general, saying it was barbaric and cold-blooded. Some people vilified the dentist, forcing him to close his practice due to death threats. People suddenly had this connection to a lion they almost certainly had never heard about until they read the story.
Now I understand that some people have issues with hunting. They find it inhumane to kill animals for sport. I personally, having lived in Utah and Wyoming most of my life, find hunting to be a fine hobby when done legally and safely. But I don't mind the opponents of hunting being mad about this. What I mind is the disproportionate reaction. The loudest part of the internet seems to have decided that this dentist is the equivalent of Jack the Ripper. They've sent death threats, vandalized his house, forced him out of work, all because of a lion. This is not what we should do with people that disagree with us.
I am a person who has a set group of beliefs, just like anyone else. And, like anyone else, my beliefs may be in direct opposition to those of other people. An example, and this might sound radical, I am not as super excited as the rest of the world about the Supreme Court's ruling on gay marriage. The reasons I am not happy about it is because, first of all, I feel that the method took away a lot of the democratic power of the people to choose the manner in which they are governed, and secondly, I feel that the government shouldn't be in the business of marriage anyway. My views may conflict with those of my friends and family, but that doesn't mean that my friends or family members are terrible people. Nor should my views make me a terrible person in their eyes.
What I'm trying to say is that sometimes people disagree with us. That doesn't mean those people are bad. Too often in the world today we treat things a black and white. We have Democrats vs Republicans, science vs religion, cats vs dogs. There's no real reason why these things can't exist together, at the same time, helping each other, building each other up. But in our minds we see ourselves and our views as absolutely right and anyone who disagrees is not only wrong, but dangerous.
Debates should not be about trying to bring someone to your side. Debates should be about both presenting your view and learning about your opponents. So here's what I suggest: next time you see someone who disagrees with you on something, try to learn why they feel the way they do, whether it's between chocolate and vanilla, buying and renting, or Capitalism and Socialism. Instead of calling each other names, let's understand each other better. Maybe our views will shift and maybe they won't but I think it's still important to learn about what makes other people think the way they do.
In short, don't hate, don't fight, don't argue. Learn.