Talking about talking

Dear Orange (the school, not the fruit), August 30, 2016

Welcome back to school, you sprightly, good-looking youth. This year, The Courier will be running a number of stories laced with controversy and divergent opinions. And, from now until November, Hillary and The Donald will be sparring for the presidency—an election that will no doubt… we’ll say “electrify” the nation.

And as the season of debate beckons, I say this: just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean they are stupid. There is this growing belief that the two sides of any issue are so irreconcilable that compromise is just Ludacris (#ludaversal).

But I urge you—you intelligible reader you—to be immune to this sort of thinking. The people who disagree with you do so because their life has been lived in a different context than yours. They have had different experiences that have forged their character and opinions in the same way that your experiences have forged your opinions.

If you were violently attacked by mutant hamster bats (yes, they exist) as a 4 year old, you will likely hate mutant hamster bats for all eternity. But keep in mind, there are people out there who have had wonderful and enlightening exchanges with the same sorts of mutant hamster bats that violently attacked you.

The point is: no opinion is wrong, so long as it can be warranted by real evidence and so long as you are willing to have your precious mind changed. Because the only thing worse than someone who wants to destroy the entire mutant hamster bat species is someone who isn’t willing to change their mind on such a murderous preference.

Lastly, I’d like to (as the kids call it) spit some truth.

Have an open mind—which sounds trite or whatever, but you will never learn anything with a closed mind. Also, be willing to discuss and debate. Don't just get frustrated and disillusioned and insist that the “we” are doomed. Talk things out with your peers, and never take a disagreement personally. That also means that you shouldn’t attack anyone personally because of their beliefs. Remember, they aren’t stupid. And neither are you. Lastly, care. Never don't care, please. So long as you care about what you believe in, your beliefs ought to be respected.

So as you, dearest reader, bend back the following pages of The Courier, I implore you to do so with open-mindedness and a resolve to be considerate and, ideally, empathetic.

Please Note: I’m legally obliged to say that mutant hamster bats do not actually exist.

All the best,

Garrett R. Dahn

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