Let’s (Re)normalize Agreeing to Disagree
When did we become so intolerant of others’ opinions and where has our civility gone?
We should reconsider the continued participation in online echo chambers, where one opinion is “right,” and all others are cancelable. Instead, might we engage in civilized discourse, French enlightenment salon style.
I know this may not be popular. “Divide and conquer” has served a purpose, and it has treated some people very well.
While the “peasants” in the middle-class squabble about left vs. right, red vs. blue, CNN vs. Fox, the top one percent grows their wealth exponentially. Simultaneously, the same groups of people fund both sides of the divide they so joyously created, allowing the schism to fester and grow. This small group of people is laughing all the way to the bank, heck, they are the bank.
An anecdote that comes to mind is sitting at a table with Swedes and Norwegians. As the Scandinavians began to discuss sociopolitical topics, I showed interest in the conversation. My tablemates were shocked.
“We did not want to offend you,“ one said with wide eyes. “We know Americans do not like to talk about politics,” said another.
This is not the first international experience I had wherein members of other countries walked on eggshells around me because I was an American and world issues were being discussed.
I do not think this problem is uniquely American, but I do think our two-party system is antiquated and does us all a disservice… except of course a select few individuals.
Let us renormalize agreeing to disagree. We all have opinions that are slightly different from one another, that is something to be celebrated.
When we remain divided, we become more rigid in our beliefs and more alienated from one another. A free exchange of ideas allows for social evolution, new perspectives, and societal growth — together.
Coming together and conversing with fellow humans, you may be surprised to find that you have more in common than you thought. An open exchange of ideas, coupled with an acceptance of divergent thinking will facilitate growth together rather than stifling progress.