Agree to Disagree
Updated: Jun 29, 2021
by Madison Chatellier
Have we digressed so far as a society that people may not oppose one another? Are we not allowed to have opinions or are we only allowed to have opinions when said opinion doesn’t offend someone? It is quite pitiful that we as a society have developed a sense of entitlement and superiority over our personal beliefs.
Surely, if I believe pink is the best color, nobody is allowed to tell me that I am wrong. Nobody is allowed to discuss why blue or green might be better; And if, by chance, someone decides to tell me otherwise, the only logical option is to verbally abuse said person. There is no room to discuss or debate. It sounds quite ridiculous, I know, but it is exactly the type of thought process I have witnessed first-hand.
While scrolling through the popular social media app, TikTok, I came across a video of a young girl joking about the fetus she was planning to abort. There were thousands of comments which included people laughing and saying things that I found vulgar and disturbing. There were comments like, “lol this killed me… and the baby” and even went as far as to make crude comments about pro-lifers and Christians.
Instead of scrolling past the video, which I later regretted, I decided to duet the video with my opposing opinions. In the video, I mentioned how it was my belief that regardless of one’s personal opinion on abortion, jokes like hers are insensitive and crude. I also stated that videos of that content should not be plastered all over an app that is frequently used by children and people who have lost their babies. I called it distasteful, but never once did I attack the woman who created the video.
Almost immediately, the comment section on my video was flooded with people claiming offense. How dare I disagree with her? I must be ‘too sensitive’ or a ‘snowflake’; And I most definitely cannot ‘handle a joke’.
Then, in the verbally-abusive fashion that generation Z has become known for, I received comments regarding my appearance and my presumed lack of intelligence. In order to prevent people from flooding my other social media with the same derogatory comments, I put all of my social media on private settings.
“Really, no one asked your opinion though,” they commented. It begged the question: why was she allowed to have an opinion about the subject but not me? Why was I not allowed to respectfully disagree with her, but her followers were allowed to disrespect and verbally abuse me? Surely one’s personal beliefs do not define their beauty or intelligence; yet I received several comments doing just that.
The thing is, people have developed such a sense of superiority over their opinions that they cannot bear to listen to someone who disagrees with them. I am just one, but this kind of thing happens all the time.
People are attacked and outcast based on their opinions; This is the ‘cancel’ culture we know today. There are celebrities who are ‘canceled’ based on the person they voted for or the religion they believe in. There are people who will refuse to watch actors' movies or buy artists’ songs because of their personal beliefs. It has created an environment that causes people to walk on eggshells.
But this issue is not just something that is happening on social media platforms; This issue is present all around us in our everyday lives.
Topics that used to make for good conversations at the dinner table are now avoided altogether because people cannot seem to grasp the idea of healthy disagreement. People can no longer discuss opposing opinions without arguing.
Teenagers are sent off to college in order to be educated and to develop into free-thinking adults. Yet, most of them hide their beliefs and opinions in fear that their professor will disagree and decide to fail them because of it. I personally know multiple students who have lied or skewed their opinions in their school papers because they knew their professor would disagree. Are we sending children off to become free thinkers or to become brainwashed?
High schools have banned political or otherwise controversial apparel. Are we avoiding conflict or teaching students that they need to suppress their opinions because if someone were to find offense, it would ultimately be their fault?
How ridiculous we must be to slander people based on their personal beliefs while living in a country built on freedom of speech. And maybe you disagree but I have yet to discover one example in history where people unable to voice their opinions didn’t end badly. In fact, many people who were slandered for their opinions had the greatest impact on our country.
So, to the people who cannot bear to hear someone disagree with them and to the people who believe their way is the only way: do better. Nothing good ever came from an easy conversation.