As we celebrate this holiday season, let’s focus on what brings us together and unites us rather than issues that divide us.
Historically, our country has been a place where people were free to speak their mind, follow their beliefs, and express their feelings. The same is true today; however, with social media platforms, people can now share their opinions and invite scrutiny by people in their community and all over the world.
Before social media, family and friends would sit around their kitchen tables and have conversations. They would share their opinions and views, and while they might have had disagreements, they were able to get along and remain amicable to each other.
Today, these disagreements often play out on social media where anyone and everyone can chime in with opinions. I support freedom of speech and expression, but I also believe that people should use discretion prior to sharing their thoughts and opinions.
Political views illicit the most attention, opinions, and disagreements on social media. People are quick to judge others based on their political beliefs, who they voted for, or their stance on certain issues. It seems those civil kitchen table conversations are a thing of the past.
Many people believe that they should only associate with those who think like them. In fact, this sentiment was brought to national attention recently when a picture of comedienne Ellen DeGeneres and former President George W. Bush went viral. A picture of the two friends laughing elicited controversy because they have different political views.
Ellen DeGeneres went on her TV show to address the fact that people questioned why she would sit with someone with differing views. Some people even questioned her commitment to causes she is known to support.
We have enough issues separating us in this country, and I think it is shameful that people made an issue out of a Democrat and a Republican laughing, getting along, and being friends. I commend Ellen DeGeneres for her response:
“Here’s the thing. I’m friends with George Bush. In fact, I’m friends with a lot of people who don’t share the same beliefs that I have. But just because I don’t agree with someone on everything doesn’t mean that I’m not going to be friends with them. When I say, ‘be kind to one another,’ I don’t only mean the people that think the same way that you do. I mean be kind to everyone.”
I echo her advice; we should be kind to one another despite our political beliefs. We should focus on what brings us together – our common goals to live fuller lives, achieve our dreams, be the best version of ourselves, and to leave a better world for future generations. As we head into the holiday season, my prayer is that the divisiveness we have seen in recent years can be a distant memory. Let 2020 be a year of unity for our local communities, for our state, and for our nation.