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Tuesday, September 30, 2014


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COLUMN: Opposing views undeserving of close-minded responses






People’s reactions to opposing opinions can be ridiculous — beyond laughable to say the least. You don’t have to look further than Derek Kim’s column on the cons of same-sex marriage to know what I’m talking about. And if you think I’m calling Derek out, you’re horribly mistaken. I’m pointing out some of the comments calling him an “idiot,” saying it’s a shame he will get an MSU degree and saying religion is “for suckers.”

Let me get two points out of the way before I go any further in this piece that I’m sure will be filled with even more positive comments and Twitter mentions (sarcasm).

First, I’ll go ahead and make my personal stance on same-sex marriage known — I completely support it, even though I am also a follower of the Catholic Church. The way I have followed my religion is to love and accept every person on this planet, no matter what shoes they walk in. If marriage makes people happy, then dang it, I’m happy. In no way does it change my life.

It’s no secret that everyone follows their religion, or lack thereof, in their own ways.

In a free country, religion should be an individual choice. But here we are in 2014 and some people are outraged by others’ beliefs.

Secondly, Derek is an incredibly kind and caring person if you actually, you know, met and talked with him. He has different viewpoints than a lot of other people, but does that mean he should be attacked and looked down upon for this? That seems like backwards thinking, especially considering many people I have met say that same-sex marriage should be handled with open-mindedness.

We don’t have to agree with Derek or anyone whose views oppose our own. But do our disagreements have to lead to name calling and being flat-out mean?

If we support free thought and expression, shouldn’t we do our best to hold up our end of the bargain?

Just let people voice their opinions freely and carry on, unless they want a debate. And if they do want a debate, stick to the topic at hand. Name-calling is not constructive.

Make no mistake about it either, it’s not just the sample of pro-same-sex marriage people that preach one thing, but do the other. It’s anti-same-sex marriage people too. It can be a select group of people from any side of any political issue.

That’s the main reason I cannot stand politics — people take way too much offense for members of the party opposition. Some Democrats can’t stand Republicans for thinking like Republicans, and vice versa.

But that’s what happens when you close off your mind to one political party’s entire agenda or train of thought. Watch nothing but TV that slants news to your political preference, and you start to be blind to any other point of view. Listen to nothing but your party’s podcast, and you make yourself deaf to other points people are trying to make. This is how we become so tunnel-visioned on one school of thought; we forget to listen to others.

As much as people hate to believe it — myself included more times than not — but no one’s opinion is right or wrong. Let bygones be bygones and carry on with your lives with acceptance of everyone’s individual opinions instead of trying to force everyone to think the same way. If your beliefs are different than another person’s, there is no need to step in and try to change them — that’s what makes us unique individuals.

I can’t hear enough people talk about open-mindedness, until someone voices an opinion that doesn’t align with theirs. The minute a phony open-minded person hears an opinion they don’t like, they go in for the other person’s’ throat immediately.

“Be free to express your own thoughts, but only if I agree with them,” people might as well say.

This goes overlooked way more than it should, but you’re probably not going to change anyone’s mind on an issue they are passionate about. I know everyone wants to try to be a voice of reason to the person they are talking to, but 99 out of 100 times, it’s not happening.

Long story short, let’s take a look at what we are doing and where we are doing it. We live in a place where we can freely voice our opinions and not worry about any persecution. Why on earth are we trying to change or discourage that?

With America seeing some of it’s most historic times, let’s all walk through this together with a word you are probably sick of reading — open-mindedness.

Matt Sheehan is the men’s basketball reporter and State News editorial board’s staff representative. Reach him at msheehan@statenews.com


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