Words and Ideas: They can change the world

Abbie Stuart

Confession: I like reading the comments section of things because they can be hilarious, but nowadays, the comments on articles just make me sad.

It doesn’t really matter what sort of article you read, the comments are all starting to become the same. Person One comments saying the article is great. Person Two replies to Person One’s comment with mean things and anger, usually insulting Person One’s intelligence in the process. Person Three gets on and defends Person One while Person Four gets on and agrees with Person Two and so on, with nothing getting accomplished and everyone getting mad and Abbie getting sad because she doesn’t like seeing how people are treating each other.

The comments sections of articles demonstrates how we have stopped listening to each other. It’s come to the point where subconsciously we think that “the other side” is less intelligent than ourselves simply because “the other side” may have a different opinion than us. People have become afraid to bring issues up because we don’t engage in conversations anymore, we engage in debates, trying to prove that our opinion is right and “our opponents’” opinion is not only wrong, but embarrassingly ignorant.

This is not going to get us anywhere.

Listening to each other may not be able to solve every issue, but it would probably solve some of them. There is a lot we can learn from those we disagree with, even if we walk away from the conversation with the same opinion we had at the start of it. The point of engaging in these conversations is not to win arguments, but to learn more about each other and maybe even come to a point of compromise.

Should we tolerate everything? No, because some things are wrong, period. But we can’t start working toward a solution to stop those things as long as we keep conditioning ourselves to disagree with anything that we may perceive as being supported by “the other side.”

Sometimes it is okay to agree to disagree.

Really, it is.