Picture it: you sit around the dinner table with your family this holiday season enjoying a beautiful meal. Suddenly, your uncle mentions politics and now the dinner table is in an outrage. There is yelling and arguments coming from every corner. Chaos.
It’s why some people hate the holidays. I get it. I do.
However, if you are lucky enough for the argument to be over something tame, like capitalism vs. socialism instead of the argument about whether women deserve human rights, I want you to appreciate it.
At the end of day, opinions are what keep this world interesting.
Now, let's be clear, if your opinion invalidates another human being's life or is blatantly racist, sexist, homophobic or any other phobic, your opinion doesn’t matter. This entire article doesn’t apply to you.
However, not every person who believes differently than you is a terrible person. Just because your cousin believes that Bob Knight was simply an amazing coach and did nothing wrong in his whole career, doesn’t mean you have to automatically hate him and decide you guys can’t be friends.
Conversations with multiple values, opinions and perspectives are what lead us to deeper thinking. They either change our mind or solidify our belief. They make us think about our beliefs and whether we have proof to back them up.
To quote John F. Kennedy, “Too often, we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”
In fact, not only are opinions important to have but also to share. Opinions bring thought. They bring new ideas to the table. They bring change.
If we all lived in harmony and peace and all believed in one singular ideal where nobody strayed from the beaten path, this world would be so boring.
We would all be the same. Never challenging what we are told and taking everything at face value.
If we all had the exact same beliefs, our society would crumble. There would be nothing holding us together. We would all be in favor of who was elected to presidency. Actually, there would be no reason for a political hierarchy at all.
There would be no debate about whether Taylor Swifts’ environmental impact outweighs her talent. No one would give you weird looks when you wore Crocs in Target. Christmas would begin Dec. 1 and not in November.
That is why this desk on the IDS exists. Opinions challenge your beliefs.
The process of changing minds begins with differing opinions. At one point in time, humans believed the Earth was flat; until someone had a different opinion and challenged that assumption. Obviously, it wasn’t that simple, but if one person had not challenged that belief, we would still believe that we could row off of the Earth.
Without opinions, we as a society and as humans have no reason for existence.
So remember that the next time you get into a political debate with your cousin Steve. Maybe he isn’t the enemy and maybe your opinion isn’t always correct.
Having open conversations where we try to learn and understand others is the only way we grow. Not everyone who have different beliefs than you are automatically terrible people.
Try to understand where they are coming from. Evaluate your own beliefs. If you still believe you are right, then it’s your turn to do some convincing.
Gentry Keener (she/her) is a junior studying journalism and political science.