Maybe you’ve noticed that I haven’t written anything meaningful lately (Besides the novels I get to work on in secret. No one sees them until I have carefully crafted each word and each intention). I feel pressure not to discuss the things that seem important to write. I’m a writer, and that feeling is torture. Writers don’t like to feel censored. Especially when it’s not colorful language (which I dislike), but their opinions which have been censored. I can’t talk about God. I can’t talk about me, because I believe in God. I can’t talk about politics because I don’t fit into the Dem or Rep camps, and people on both sides hate people like me. When I do talk about God, I’m not “Christian” enough for the Christians. It’s hard to maintain bravery when everything you do is wrong.
It wouldn’t be that bad if I knew strangers would be the only ones who judge my writing, the topics I discuss, and my ideas. But the fact is, I don’t feel that I can write the things that are important to me because if I do, my friendships are at risk. I’m not a person that just throws away a relationship over my opinions. I find it unfortunate, though, that things have gotten to where I feel that my friends and family don’t want me to have an opinion if it isn’t the same as theirs.
I’m a thoughtful person. Every single position I take on any issue has been birthed through research, prayer, and discussion. But it doesn’t seem like people want to discuss differing viewpoints anymore. I get the sense that people are only interested in vilifying people whose opinions differ from theirs. It’s tragic. It’s stupid. I hate it. In my head I imagine all the people on both sides of any argument feeling a bit lazy, and instead of engaging in meaningful conversation, they bust out their bedazzled pink villain wand, and tap all those who dare to disagree on the head. “Well, if they’re a villain, I don’t have to be bothered to consider that their opinions were hard won and thoroughly researched.”
How can we fix anything in this putrid environment? If we can’t work together, what’s the point? Yes, we are different, and we have different opinions. But it used to be that contrasting ideologies caused us to grow and learn as different societies. I saw some of Galileo’s letters at the British National Library last May. They made me think, “What if Galileo had never opposed the idea that the Sun rotates around the Earth?” He was willing to be imprisoned just so he could share his discoveries. He wasn’t trying to force others to believe them. I want to be more like Galileo.
My Proposal to Stop Peer Censorship
So here is my proposal, and yes, it would be nice if you would treat me this way, but at least treat one other person in your life this way, even if it isn’t me:
-Stop shaming people who don’t agree with you. It’s wrong. It is always wrong to shame another person. That’s bullying. Stop it. You aren’t helping. You’re making things worse.
-Stop grouping people together into groups of idiocy or enlightenment based on one of their opinions. Take the time to get to know someone first. Because most of us fall in between the two.
-Employ empathy! Please, for the love of all things, try to be empathetic. I am literally begging you to be more empathetic. You don’t know what it’s like to be someone else. You don’t understand all the gray areas where people really live because you’re so busy trying to paint everything as black and white. It isn’t.
-I’d love to hear your opinions, but don’t shut me down by calling me ignorant when I have one that differs. That isn’t how healthy relationships work.
I wish I could say I’m just going to write what I feel I should write, but I can’t make promises like that right now. I’m soft, and I don’t care if you think that means I’m weak. I do promise that I will do everything I can to make this world just a little less hateful. And just because I think it will be helpful why don’t you post one reading recommendation of a hopeful book below in the comments so that those of us that are looking for a few minutes of reprieve might find it in a clever book.