The world in which we live is highly opinionated. That's a good thing. The marketplace of ideas makes the world go around.

 

Me? I'm a hippie-peacenik-libertarian hybrid who truly believes that all you need is love. Others are straight-laced, fight-to-the-bitter-end-no-matter-what, staunchly-set-in-their-views fringe members. And I love them so much.

 

WHAT THE WHAT? Did I just say that I love the people are who are completely opposite of me? I believe I did. And I didn't go back and delete it, so I must have some belief in this statement. In fact, I do. I truly enjoy the company of people whose opinions and world views directly conflict with mine. That's how you learn. That's how you understand. Love, compassion, understanding, tolerance, and appreciation are all born out of conversation between opposing parties.

 

Lately, I've noticed a trend. I don't think it's a new trend. It's probably more related to the idea that I'm now an adult who does adult things while hanging out with other adults. This trend that I've noticed is a troubling trend, and one I don't understand. In short, it is the tendency to blow off, discredit, or downright slander anybody with an opposing viewpoint. We've all seen it. Many have done it. Whether it's an opposing political view, religion, ideology, or just simply a fan of a different football team, there are people who will automatically speak poorly of their new enemy. But why does a difference of opinion, lifestyle, or preference have create an enemy in the first place? Answer...it doesn't. Allow me to break this down.

 

Republicans/Democrats are not automatically idiotic, stupid, evil, or hateful. They aren't you. And it's OK if somebody isn't you.

 

Christians/Jews/Muslims/atheists are not automatically idiotic, stupid, evil or hateful. They aren't you. And it's OK if somebody isn't you.

 

Caucasians/Hispanics/Blacks/Asians are not automatically idiotic, stupid, evil, or hateful. They aren't you. And it's OK if somebody isn't you.

 

Every day, I learn more about the world from listening to people who are nothing like me. They teach me much more than my like-minded friends do. And even when I learn about those ways of life, I don't have to agree with them in order to respect them. In doing so, one of the greatest qualities of life unfolds; love in the face of disagreement.

 

The world in which we live is highly opinionated. That's a good thing. The marketplace of ideas makes the world go around.