Let me explain:
In the world today, there are many polarizing topics that many people seem to be very passionate about: gay marriage, abortions, race relations, the economic disparity in this country and others. Sadly, it seems our generation feels like they have to take a stance on everything. They have to hold rigid to their beliefs and if anyone dare challenges them, then that person is awful and must be the subject of ridicule. Take the most recent example of the trial of George Zimmerman for the shooting of Trayvon Martin. I want to preface this with the condolences for the Martin family. Regardless of what happened and who was at fault,their pain is immeasurable. Now, having said that, if you followed people on Facebook/Instagram/twitter etc, you would have seen the worst of the internet on the night of the acquittal. For example, Roddy White, a player for the Atlanta Falcons, tweeted this gem on the night Zimmerman was acquitted:
“All them jurors should go home and kill themselves tonight for letting a grown man get away with killing a kid.”
This wasn’t an isolated tweet. There were many people with similar thoughts and anger on social media that night. That’s where we are in America today: the court of public opinion has now outweighed the court of law. It doesn’t matter that a jury of his peers found him innocent of second degree murder, all that matters is that Trayvon was black and Zimmerman was white (which isn’t even true, but that didn’t stop the public from declaring it so). Because of that fact and the anger behind the trial, any opinion other than “Zimmerman is a racist, and he hunted and killed Martin solely because he was black,” means that you are a racist and are an awful person. Look, this chart even proves it:
Another example occurred at a pool party I attended for a friend about a year ago (while the election races were heating up and people were making their decision on for whom they were voting), I got into a debate with a friend of mine about the candidates. Naturally, since we were debating, we were voting for opposite candidates. When the topic of abortion came up, her view was that one candidate would push to end abortion in this country through the supreme court, so casting a vote for him would be a slap to the face of women everywhere and the right to make a decision with their own bodies. I was offended with her implication, because she pigeonholed me into an opinion based on my choice in a candidate, and I don’t even have a solid stance on that issue. She told me how awful I was merely because I could consider voting for someone she didn’t agree with. I don’t see things in black and white like that. I see good and bad qualities in people all the time. I may not agree with certain viewpoints, but I certainly can see where they are coming from most of the time,
This leads into why I’m afraid. Like I said earlier, I like to see both sides of a story. I tend to like to engage in conversations with people due to the fact that I don’t always have a hard stance on things. Many times when I do end up favoring a side, it’s of a dissenting opinion than the rest of my age group, so I am immediately ostracized for having that opinion. I’m scared that people who may have that dissenting opinion will be afraid to speak their mind, and therefore we will have mob mentality when it comes to any issue. It seems today, if you are an adult age 18-35 you should vote democrat, dislike the Catholic Church, hate the rich, support gay marriage, and support a woman’s right to choose. Any deviation from those opinions immediately makes you an outsider, and subjects you to interrogation about “how you just don’t care.”
Look, I don’t know the answers to life’s questions. I can only get a grasp on the issues and make an educated, realistic decision based on the information that I am provided. I don’t fall into one group of beliefs, as I agree with opinions from both political parties today. I hope that as the prevalence of social media becomes larger, we have the people with dissenting opinions out there willing to speak their mind in a constructive way. I just know I’m sick of being afraid to speak my mind if I go against the groupthink. I’m sick of being told that I’m a bad person because I might not agree with a topic that you think is imperative to the fate of the human race. If this generation prides itself on open-mindedness and acceptance, how about to afford that same luxury to those who may see the world a little differently?