How can you change someone’s heart and mind, if you don’t believe they possess a heart or mind?
Recently, in a closed Facebook group, we were discussing certain members, and the difficulty of tolerating political differences in thought… here’s my thought for the day:
I’ve made friends from different political affiliations, and have been debating with them for years, and as frustrating as those interactions can be, I’ve chosen to deal with the madness (on a LIMITED level: only at my will, patience, time, desire) because I believe that unfriending, blocking, etc. is not only immature (like junior-high), but unrealistic, and equates to burying our heads in the sand. In the beginning, my sole purpose was to challenge and defeat those opposing ideas… I thrived on the debate and the ‘one ups’; if I was looking for a little adrenaline rush, I sat at my computer and started typing away with my clever self, sharing my superior (yeah, yeah, I know, I know) thoughts and links.
After years of this mindset, and arguing my points, sometimes, to little, or no avail, I started to notice something. I noticed that no matter WHAT you present to some people: websites, facts, news articles, statistics, etc., they will stubbornly remain vehemently adamant in their beliefs. During these years, as I developed closer friendships with some of my opponents, I noticed something else: that we really DO have things in common, we all have families, friends, desires, fears, misconceptions. I was reminded that as cold, or as wrong, or as uneducated we perceive people to be, they have hearts and minds too. The reality IS, that people believe the way they do for REASONS… and how can we possibly learn to compromise, and discover the things we DO have in common, if we pretend, and wish away the reality which exists within the people with whom we disagree?
During the recent conversation within that facebook page, I was slapped with the reality that as much as we yell and accuse the ‘other side’ of, exhibiting bigotry, being intolerant, uncompromising, etc., we ALL do the VERY same thing! “You are wrong and stupid; come on, how can you NOT see this?!” We’re NEVER going to change hearts and minds by telling people they are ‘stupid and wrong’… by doing this, we define them as having no heart or mind. Who want’s to hear that? I don’t.
Some were surprised, and shocked that the country turned blood red on November 4th, 2014. I was too; at first… but then I started to think… what did the GOP do? They appealed to… wait for it…. hearts! (which is where fear, and love, and emotion begin). We can fantasize that people ONLY vote with their minds, but it just isn’t so. We ARE human BEINGS. I find it so ironic that liberals have been labeled with the term ‘bleeding-hearts’… well, apparently the GOP aint dumb, because they made hearts bleed; didn’t they? I believe that we need to move away from the mindset of ‘right/wrong’ and strive to move beyond the false and perpetuated division that has so forcefully and recklessly washed over us.
We have much more in common than we are led to believe, and I have discovered that I have some VERY important issues in common with a few conservative peeps. I’m thankful for those moments… it’s really exciting to discover those commonalties exist with people of whom you’d NEVER expect!
Should we continue to argue our points? Of course! But I think it’s imperative that as we do so, we try to remember that as false and misleading as that story, article, or meme may seem, SOMETHING within it has resonated with the person sharing, and they, most times, BELIEVE it… in… their… HEART. Calling people names, attacking a person, because we disagree with what they believe, will NEVER convince them to change their hearts or minds.