Sometimes we have a duty as people to avoid fanning the flames of hate.
As every news broadcast displays violent images of school shootings, literal fires being set to the western United States, and daily road rage turning violent, we need to remember that there is an avoidable path we can choose to take when facing desolation.
Don’t Discuss Politics
This is not meant to be taken literally. I am not speaking about actual politics; rather, the idea of a subject that rattles cages is well endowed. We need to remember that everyone has an opinion, and those opinions are both right and wrong. In this sense, it is okay to discuss certain topics, but we must remember that just like political debates, there is potential for backlash when we bring up certain abstract concepts.
This is something the news enjoys playing around with: the double-edged sword that represents swayed opinions. In turn, if we want to make this world a better place, we need to prioritize the good and not the bad. When we can recognize that one subject is not to be discussed around certain people, we must learn to restrain our voices and let ourselves think rather than speak. That way, we do not become subjected to a silenced voice; instead, we are doing more of a risk assessment than anything else.
Don’t Fan The Flames
This is not to say we should avoid debating our beliefs; it simply means to choose your audience wisely. When I was in my second year of college, we had a professor who decided that his classroom was an open stage for discussion. The thing he did not account for was the knife fight that we call “debate.” Before long, the classroom was a divided mausoleum of not just different opinions but also, different objectives.
This teacher may have had good intentions, but in the end it led to less learning about the topic and more about what we each thought of a specific subject. Whereas in a classroom you are expected to wear a label based on grades and honor, we were instead beginning to label each other as Democrat, Liberal, Republican, Outsider, and so on. In this sense, we must all remember to avoid fanning the flames of hate. Sometimes something as simple as a different opinion needs to be respected, not looked at as a way to either label someone or to voice something no one wants to be a part of.
Thus was the case of this classroom.
Avoid The Protest
This past year has shown America one thing: when we are upset, taking to the streets with picket signs and, on far too many occasions, homemade explosives, is something that is to be respected. To many, it means we are showing our stance on something; we are representing a topic or an opinion for the greater good. But in reality, all we are doing is making a mountain out of a molehill. It is understandable that sometimes it is our rights as human beings (and members of a free nation) is to do just that: to protest. But we must realize that when we participate with such behaviors, we abuse our freedom and instead, insight a stance of violence and indifference.
Again, this is a metaphor for speaking one’s mind. We must all remember that there is a time and a place for speaking out. I feel that if you want to voice your opinion, do what I am doing right now: go onto a blog and post your thoughts and feelings. Do so in a manner that is conducive to caring and love, and avoid the metaphorical protests that only fan the flames of wrongdoing. When upset, angry, or even elated, attending the silent protest can lead us to violent intentions, and this only sparks disputable actions by those meant to keep the peace. Avoid the protest, stay home, and write!