First off, let’s just get it out there that dissent is a beautiful thing. Regardless of where you’re at, whether it’s the playground or corporate America, dissent provides an amazing opportunity to learn more about those around you and attempt to understand their perspective.
As with most things, dissent is also most effective when used appropriately. Meaning, if I’m being told, or am expected, to fall in line with an idea or directive I don’t agree with, how I approach my dissent is what will help determine how successful I am in getting the outcome I’m after.
If I am the one experiencing the dissent, I am more likely to be open to ongoing discourse if the person dissenting isn’t utilizing any strong-arm tactics, and instead is approaching the situation passionately and respectfully.
It is the easy way out to look at the events over the weekend and say those dissenting are being disrespectful, and they aren’t really American, blah blah blah. We all know that one of the greatest parts of being American is being opinionated about what matters to us, so perhaps we should stop acting as if only a select few get to voice their opinion.
If anything, we should look at what happened and ask more questions. We witnessed peaceful protest. We witnessed people using their platform to make us uncomfortable and to force us to question our staunchly held beliefs.
People, this is why we are who we are!
We are not a country of sheep.
We are not a country of one mind, one idea, one ideology.
We are diverse.
We have experiences that have shaped different perspectives.
This is not a question of “us and them.”
Just because we don’t like what they are protesting, doesn’t make it any less of an important issue.
Just because it forces us to confront the dark and ugly parts of our belief systems, doesn’t mean we should shame those to try to shine a light.
This is an opportunity to reach out and ask questions.
This is an opportunity to try to look beyond the end of our own noses and our own experiences and try to understand those we believe are different than us. (And really, even those we think are just like us.)