I spend hours each week talking with right wing conservative Christians, Republicans, and Tea Party members. They say offensive things to me, like calling me “naive” & “shallow.” They tell me I don’t have an understanding of life, I’m raising my kids to go to Hell, that I’m “like a child,” that I’m “lost” and I have “nothing to live for”, and I have no basis for my morality.
It frustrates me. At times, it angers me. But I don’t shut them down. I don’t mute their mics. I don’t storm out of the room kicking things. I don’t yell at them and call them names. I don’t protest. I don’t set anything on fire. I don’t stop them from talking.
In fact, I invite them to keep talking. I challenge the basis for their views and watch their views crumble in the absence of substantial evidence. I challenge their thinking, their mindset, and ask them questions they’ve never thought to answer.
Why? I’m an adult. And I want long term change.
I educate these people on why they’re wrong and continue to build relationships so I can make a difference in the war, not just a battle.
That doesn’t have to be your strategy, but it’s mine.
That being said, it breaks my heart to open my CNN app, only to find 3 back-to-back headlines:
UC DAVIS PROTESTERS STOP TALK BY RIGHT WING COMMENTATOR
PROTESTERS SHUT DOWN MILO YIANNOPOULOS EVENT
CONTROVERSIAL PAINTING TO BE REMOVED FROM CAPITOL
I completely understand being enraged by something. I understand wanting to fight about it. But shut down other opinions? Silence people you don’t agree with? Destroy things that offend you?
While you’re enraged and trying to silence those you disagree with, you’re enraging me, making me want to stand with people I can’t stand. How’s that for progress?
Think about it. Where the hell would we be if the Religious Right succeeded in doing that to us? If they silenced and shut down everything the majority thought was offensive.
I sure as hell wouldn’t have a show. That’s hate speech!
So my advice to you, liberals, secularists, and even conservatives (who are offended over the painting mentioned above) is to create your own content, educate those around you, fight when you need to fight, confront those who are speaking falsehoods…
But don’t throw a fit, plug your little ears, and cry to have people silenced when something upsets you. Use that passion as fuel to do your own thing, not to blind fold yourself to make the uncomfortable feelings go away.
Grow up and get your own voice instead of silencing your opposition. That’s the only way you’ll actually make a difference. Otherwise, you’re just making us look bad.
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