Growing up in such a politically diverse and tense society has led most of my generation to believe that you must either be a complete conservative or a complete liberal. The tension between the two sides has led my generation to believe that there is no common ground, no understanding, and no civility between the two political sides. As of 2019, there has been a major shift in the demographic that makes up the United States. What used to be a majority conservative, Christian population, now with each election becomes more secular and liberal. For the older generations that have grown up with the safety of a government that shared the same ideas and values as them, this is a bit of a culture shock. For my generation and those following, we think we are changing the world and making it a better place.
While there are a lot of good efforts being made by the younger generation, such as climate change, female empowerment, and health awareness, there is this attitude of hatred and diversity that comes with political affiliation. My conservative upbringing instructed me to never be friends with a liberal because it could lead to my morals and values being compromised. I have met many liberals that when we discuss our differences, they feel as if they have to get defensive and force their thoughts onto me. Avoidance of those that think and do differently is unhealthy, but so is forcing ideas onto somebody. There must be a healthy balance in order to live in a society with so many different cultures being mixed.
Going into any conversation regarding political issues or any type of controversy, the biggest thing to bring with you is understanding. There is so much grace and beauty in being able to respect one another despite differences. It is always important to stand up for what is right and what you believe in, but Martin Luther King Jr. did not change the world with anger, violent riots, ignorance, or avoidance. He stood peacefully for what he believed in, he did not apologize, and he showed respect to those that disrespected him. Nelson Mandela spent most of his life in an African Prison being tortured for what he believed in. When he was finally released he entered freedom with such grace and dignity and felt no bitterness towards those that thought differently.
Having an open mind does not mean that you take on other’s beliefs and accept them. It means that you have enough confidence in yourself and what you stand for that you are able to show respect for those that do not do the same to you. Nobody that changed the world for the better did it by completely avoiding those that held different values. They also did not change the world by yelling, violence, or arguing. The world is changed through those that show love, peace, confidence, and understanding. You change the world not by trying to prove yourself, but by a show up peace when confronted, and grace when knocked down. By love when you are hated and paying attention to those that ignore you. As a conservative, beliefs are based on more than just “what is right.” It is faith, hope and love that has instilled your values within you, so show the rest of the world what you have that they do not.