Demonizing people who have different political beliefs is counterproductive
By Jessica Berget, Opinions Editor
In a time where there a such a divide between left- and right-wing politics, I think it’s important to hear what the other side is saying.
You can learn a lot about what the other side believes, and you may find that there are a lot of similarities with your own beliefs at the core. It may also strengthen your own opinion and make you think differently, instead of being stuck in an echo chamber of similar political beliefs and ideologies. Hearing opinions that are different from yours, no matter how much you hate or disagree with them, also challenges your beliefs so that you can learn and evolve from them.
It’s important to realize that everyone has different life experiences, and that influences their beliefs. That doesn’t mean they’re wrong—it means they think differently, and what’s wrong with that? It’s just a matter of perspective. Furthermore, we shouldn’t assume people are stupid just because they think this way. Such judgment is not productive and we’re never going to learn or grow as people—or a society—if we just shut down anyone or any opinion we disagree with.
I also find people disagree with the conceptions they have of the other side. They assume that others think or feel a certain way and disregard them because of it, which doesn’t allow any room for dialogue or growth. I think if you talk to someone on either side without assumptions, you’ll find they’re mostly reasonable people. You’ll probably even find some common ground.
I am reminded of a Star Trek episode called “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield.” In the episode, a feud ensues between two sworn enemies. The hostility began because one character has black on the right side of their face and white on the left, and the other character has the opposite—white on the right and black on the left. By the end of it, they are so divided because of their beliefs and assumptions of the other person that they end up destroying each other. It’s a campy episode, a little too on the nose, and a story that has been told time after time, but the analogy is nevertheless apt in our political climate. We shouldn’t let our political differences become our last battlefield.