I saw a tweet from a friend the other day that anyone who watches Fox News doesn’t deserve love. Another message the same day — “People who don’t support abortion are literal trash. Get out of my face." Another called all conservatives pieces of sh*t, and instructed them to “go die in a hole.”
We need to love each other better.
In college, my best friend refused to take over the counter drugs. Even when she was in pain, she denied medication that would help her feel more comfortable. After a particularly painful workout one day, we made a decision without her knowledge — we would bake her an Advil dessert. So as we mixed the ingredients for a tasty cheesecake, we crumbled one ibuprofen into her portion and watched as she ate the whole thing, complimenting our cooking. A few hours later, she felt so much better, and we confessed our secret. But rather than a laugh or a thanks, she wasn’t thrilled at our deception.
Our political climate feels a little bit like this scenario sometimes. As a city-dweller who leans politically conservative and practices relationship based religion, almost no one I encounter on a daily basis agrees with my viewpoints. They have assumptions of my character based on ill-informed “facts” about people who “believe the same things” as me they’ve seen on social media.
It’s taken almost two years to accept this climate as something I can’t control and stop blaming myself, and I truly believe diversity in opinion has encouraged my personal self-reflection and made me a better person. But I think we often confuse our good intentions with harmful and deceptive behavior. We disguise our own ideology in cupcakes of right and wrong, and we forget that the people around us have different, equally strong viewpoints. Just because I choose to take Advil for headaches doesn’t mean that’s the healthy choice/ right choice/ only way. And assuming anything else is inconsiderate, hurtful, and close-minded — all qualities I strive not to portray.
I’ve had so many encounters lately both in person and on Twitter of uncomfortable assumptions and hate disguised as opinion, disregarded because it’s popular. People who insist on human rights, love for all people, and freedom of expression spew hateful rhetoric about republicans, religion, and anyone who falls into either of those categories. And if you’re reading this thinking its the “democrats” that are the problem,
you’re the problem. I’m the problem. That’s the PROBLEM.
Everywhere I turn, people are making harsh and unfair generalizations about people based on how they voted in the election. The truth of the matter is, it doesn’t matter at all. My political party is not my identity, and even if it was — the parties are not that straightforward. Regardless of that, every single person deserves love. Especially the people you don’t know anything about. People who watch Fox News deserve love. People who watch CNN deserve love. If you disagree with someone, don’t tell them to “get our of your face.” Sit down and talk to them to better understand why they feel the way they do, and then, you can disagree with them to their face in a constructive way. There’s no rule that your friends have to believe the exact same things you do. If that was the case, I wouldn’t have a best friend. I pop a Benedryl every time I fly in an airplane, and she hates the idea of medication in general. Neither of us is right or wrong.
As silly of an example as that is, I just wish we could break free of a stereotype-driven country. The amount of hate I voluntarily read or unintentionally encounter in my interactions around the city is appalling and really breaks my heart sometimes. I’ve cried on more than one occasion because I feel so misunderstood as a person. But what I’ve learned through all of this is that I’m not right. My views on foreign policy aren’t “right." Neither are my opinions on Trump or pizza without sauce or cuffing jeans. They’re just my views, and I have no grounds to call people out for disagreeing with me because their views are probably equal in conviction and hopefully, research.
If you care about loving people, love people. Don’t like the hateful tweets making generalizations about humans you know nothing about. And don’t feed people Advil-laced sweets because you think you know what’s best for them.
Disclaimer — drugging people is not a joke. This was a silly occurrence that I don’t condone or recommend, and I will not do it again.