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I don’t agree with most of you. No offense, I just don’t. I’m too conservative for the liberals, and I’m too liberal for the conservatives. I usually refer to my political leanings as “firmly middle of the road”. Not meaning that I am wishy washy, but meaning that on some issues, I’m am very conservative (abortion, gun rights, etc), and on others, I am liberal (immigration is a big one here).

But see, I have my views, and I realize that you have yours. I want to respect you, even if I think that your actual opinion is bat-crap crazy. But can I ask you one favour? It would be brilliant if you didn’t attack me for my views. I understand passion for an issue. I understand that we get excited when we talk about stuff. I understand that we read comments that others are leaving, and they get us fired up. Or we see that it seems like everyone else is using harsh words and sarcasm to get their point across, so we think that’s the only way to do it.

I like to read the comments sections of blogs and articles. Well…let me clarify…I used to like to read the comments sections. It’s interesting to see other people’s views and you may learn a different way of looking at things.

But now, most comments are attacks on the character of people who don’t think exactly the way that you do. Someone posts an opinion that is not exactly in line with your own? Compare him to a Nazi. Someone asks for clarification on a point made in the article? Ask if she’s about to go join ISIS.

I had someone get on one of my blogs recently, and get rather snarky about the fact that I posted my opinion on being vegetarian, calling me “nasty” and “mean spirited” because of the things that I said. Which he then recanted when I explained my side further. Though he did still think that I should have left my opinions out of it, and made it a blog about the health benefits of vegetarianism rather than an opinion piece.

Why can’t we leave the name calling? Especially when we don’t know the whole story? At least ask for clarification before being so harsh.

And this is not only on political posts. Don’t like an ingredient used in a recipe you found on Pinterest? The maker of the recipe must be a homo-phobic, racist scumbag. Because of course someone who creates a recipe for spinach lasagna, despite the fact that you hate spinach, must be one of the worst humans in the world.

We’ve created a society where we can’t chance offending anyone, and people are so easily offended that in normal conversation, we have to walk on eggshells. We have lost the fine art of healthy debate and discussion.

At one point, those things were about learning the another point of view, and gaining knowledge. Now it is about trying to prove that you are right. You have to so closely guard your words that it is like you are speaking through a filter.

Does this person agree with you about abortion? How does that person feel about gay rights? Hmmm…the only thing you have in common is a love of dogs? Stick to that. But don’t mention pit bulls, because they’re scary…With so many filters, it’s amazing that we talk at all.

I miss the days where we’d get together with friends, and we’d debate every subject under the sun. Sometimes the chats would get heated, sometimes voices would be raised, and we’d actually be properly annoyed with each other. We all had very strong beliefs, and none of us believed exactly the same as everyone else. But at the end of the day, we respected each other, and we were friends. That’s what is missing so much in the world. Respect for the views of others, and a commitment that our relationships are worth far more than proving that we’re right 100% of the time.

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