Every day I surf the internet and come across a post or an article attacking someone. There is a familiar pattern that is present within each one as well. “This person is bad, some ‘facts’ not in full context, and only an uneducated fool would think otherwise.” Then those with a similar or ‘close-enough’ bias take this and run with it.

This is pure craziness, Really. The definition of insanity we all quote is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” We post these articles and make our voices heard to all who will listen, so why aren’t there lines of people waiting to be converted. Instead, they snap back with their own rhetoric thinking they will convert the other. I remember going into chat rooms a long time ago and debating religion with others. I am pretty sure I never converted a single person after all of those wasted hours.

Why do we think trumpeting our opinion will change another’s? Most of us have beliefs down to our cores and will not compromise. It is extremely hard to let our guard down to listen to the perspective of another with genuine intent to learn. What helps me is knowing that geography and genealogy have provided me with most of my core beliefs. If I was born in the Middle East, chances are I would have grown up Muslim. Growing up in NE Ohio, I was raised in a house filled with Democrats. I heard my dad talking down about Republicans. All of my neighbors believed similarly. It wasn’t until I left for the military that I heard perspectives from others and made my own decisions about faith, politics, and so many other things I realized were programmed due to my bloodline and location of birth. Understand this may impact you and those around you too and then open your mind to other ideas. It certainly will help ground you as to why people believe what they believe.

I wish I could say I was above online debates and the such, but I find myself getting pulled in still. However, my goal is no longer to “prove how smart I am,” it is to get others to at least open up to another viewpoint. Every single problem I have ever had with another and then had the courage to confront it, showed me that I misunderstood where they were coming from. It turns out there are other good ideas out there too. Just because someone likes another political candidate doesn’t make them racist or stupid. Recently, I watched a girl attack her friend because of a post and called her all sorts of names because she had a different view. It is good to think differently. A nation of all democrats is not good and neither is one with all republicans; however, we have to stop attacking each other.

We need to stop squashing different opinions and cancelling those who have them. We need to lean in and listen to why they think the way they do and then seek the common ground. Why does the military do so well with diversity? Because we have one mission to complete and can’t pick our team. We suffer together for a common goal. Because we have a common ground to stand on, nothing else matters. At the end of the day, we might not hang out together (although we often do), but we always find a way to work together. If we can seek ways to find a common ground in other areas of our lives, we can actually achieve something together. We have to learn to attack the problem, not the person.

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