Don't Take This Personally But...
An Understood Babble column by Chris Jungle
It's about time everyone take themselves less seriously, and I mean this in every facet of their lives. Things have gotten to the point where people's opinions, not issues, are causing the most disturbances. O.J. Simpson was found both innocent and guilty, and to the contrary of what many people are saying, it has very little relevance to the millions who have opinions on it. People are crying about the differences between whites and blacks because more blacks think O.J. is innocent and more whites think he's guilty.
I'm here to tell you there is a difference between the races. More whites like John Stockton rather than Gary Payton. More blacks like Martin Lawrence than Jerry Seinfeld. More Hispanics like Santana instead of Eddie Van Halen. More Indians like their traditional dances more than any tourist who come to see them. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. Nor should it be considered a threat.
A great many people seem to be taking others opinions as some sort of personal attack. There is nothing wrong with protesting abortions and waving banners that put down the doctors who perform them. In the end, both doctors and patients will have a lot more on their minds than the forty-year-old lady with the "Jesus Was A Poor Baby And Look How He Turned Out" sign. Of course, there are those who go too far with their anti-abortion views and start making bomb threats and brandishing shotguns. It makes me want to go out with a sign reading "Jesus Never Needed A Gun To Make A Point."
Sometimes people go too far with beliefs that don't really make much difference. Once a year in high school, two or three guys would come to school in mini skirts to protest the hypocrisy in the dress code. While they were guaranteed a couple days suspension and a picture in the year book, nothing ever changed. I was a regular dress code violator and got sent home to change on several occasions. I always viewed the whole thing as legal hooky. While the dress code was considered stupid, I knew it wasn't that big a deal.
Many issues are big deals: handguns, the environment, and drug use, but the importance of the issues do not merit some of the extremist actions done by people on both sides of the line. Some opposed to illicit drug use will not make exceptions for medicinal purposes. Many who use recreational drugs do it so irresponsibly that they make it difficult for any kind of legalization progress. Very few will openly admit to being against the environment, so the lack of caring is considered one extreme. Pro-environmental extremists go to the point of destruction to save the world. Somehow, I don't see Mother Nature approving. As far as guns, there appears to be more complaining about having or not having guns, and not enough talk about using them responsibly.
With every issue, opinion, statement, soapbox, and bull session, there is one thing that everyone wants and is very reluctant to give out to others--respect. Not just respect for the individual, but respect for having a different view. The truth is that in every argument both sides have some merit, or there would be no debate at all. With every push a person gives, it means someone is getting shoved. People need to remember that if they knock somebody down it's still okay to help them up again.
I've met hundreds of people who I don't particularly care to hang around because of their beliefs, but I've also disliked people for their lack of thinking. Everyone takes a risk when they think, and even more of one when they say what they think. There are billions of people wandering around on this planet, and none of them have the same thoughts on everything. If you do meet someone who thinks exactly like you, then they probably want to date you. The identical beliefs will disappear seconds after the first orgasm.
We have beliefs on issues for the simple reason that we might be faced with those issues some day. Thoughts on abortions really mean squat until a person is faced with the decision. Racial issues are just talk until someone yells at you because of the color of your skin. The pros and cons of Pearl Jam are pointless until someone puts on the CD. Our opinions tell us how to react if and when such times occur, and sometimes being faced with the actual problem might change our perspective.
It just seems people are getting bent out of shape over things that they shouldn't. So the next time you see a pro-environment, anti-cigarette, pro-marijuana, pro-choice, pro-meat eating, anti-gun toting, anti-systematic education, pro-sports watching, anti-organized religion, pro-pornography, anti-racist, anti-Victorian era novels, pro-Vonnegut novels, pro-tolerance man sitting in the corner of the diner eating his double order of hash browns with ketchup spewed all over the top and mumbling about how he can never figure out when the next episode of "Duckman" will come on, remember that I'm still respecting your beliefs, too.
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