By BLAKE SANDLIN
Snowflake. Homophobe. Libtard.
Those are just some of the words I regularly notice scrolling through Twitter and Facebook throughout the day. The toxic opinions of social media users have become more polarized than ever since last year's election, with each side sparing to best the opposition with demeaning personal remarks and criticism.
Some claim President Trump is to blame for our country’s division. This couldn’t be further from the truth. We are letting Trump divide ourselves. He isn’t forcing us to spout hate to our fellow Americans, we are taking that upon ourselves in hopes of “beating” the other side. It’s our arrogance that’s dividing us, not our President.
Why have 21st century politics become such a contest, with one side bragging to another after an election victory? Politics isn’t a contest, with the winner receiving a better life and the loser having to put up with it. It is our job to stand in solidarity with one another, with party lines diminished, in hopes that our government can work effectively to provide what’s best for all of us.
The truth is, there are myriad controversial issues facing our country, and of course, it’s appropriate to question the decisions and actions of those in power. But why must it be with so much hostility? Can we not embrace respectful debate, hearing out the differing opinions of others and taking time to rationalize them in our own brain before sounding off online?
We have become so quick to shoot down the opinions of others, simply because we lack understanding of their individual perspective. Instead of being quick to call the man who opposes homosexuality a “homophobic bigot,” take the time to understand the underlying premise of his beliefs. Before judging a kneeling Collin Kaepernick, pause to consider the oppression he has faced that might’ve shaped his opinion.
This isn’t a case of party alliance. It’s not a case of who’s right and who’s wrong. It’s a case of human decency. Have we, as a country, forgotten the values and manners that we were brought up with? What happened to turning the other cheek when others’ opinions differ from ours?
We must stop being so entrenched in our differences of individual opinions and party platforms that we fail to see what unites us all. We are all humans. We were all placed on this Earth to live a happy, prosperous life, full of purpose. Let’s find strength in that truth and make it our mission every day to build up those around us, Democrats and Republicans alike.
(Blake Sandlin, a student at Murray State University from Marshall County, is in the midst of a 10-week internship at The Crittenden Press. He can be reached at (270) 965-3191 or bsandlin1