Look, you have opinions and so do I. But I’ve learned over the years that there are generally two or more sides to every story.
Certain individuals and media outlets are going to present extreme views of situations. And that’s okay, even if you or I disagree completely with their takes.
Lately I’ve seen numerous comments on Facebook and Twitter talking about unfriending and unfollowing people whose views are different from their own. I think that’s a bad idea.
I’ve read about certain speakers being uninvited to speak at college campuses because many of the students disagreed with their ideas. Which is ironic, considering that colleges have a general reputation for supporting free speech.
(At the relatively conservative University of Alabama, when I was a student we had Jane Fonda, Ralph Nader, Andy Warhol and others present their “radical” agendas to students.)
I can understand the Post-Dispatch’s (stltoday.com) decision to ban comments on certain online content. I know I’ve seen some hateful, vile and disgusting comments posted there.
But I’m talking about choosing not to read or listen to dissenting points of view. Just consuming extreme takes from all sides of an issue will not harm you. And it may cause you to more clearly comprehend what a person or group believes, even if you can’t understand how certain conclusions are reached. A little bit of insight can be a good thing.
Take this test. If you’re an MSNBC fan, spend some time watching Fox News Channel. If you’re a Fox News viewer, check out the spin MSNBC provides. Can you handle it? Can you watch Bill O’Reilly and then follow it up with Rachel Maddow? Try it!
This suggestion to open your mind goes beyond political and social realms. In business and marketing, when a new idea or technique emerges, some may be skeptical or resistant to change. But that new thing that made you shake your head a couple of years ago may be about to explode in 2015.
It’s okay to hold on to your core beliefs. (Be aware that they may change over time as you get older and your life circumstances change.) But shutting off other voices can limit your understanding of the big picture.
This is my last post here until January 5, 2015. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! You may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 636-346-3434.
(photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/_imax/616221600/, Max Nathan via http://photopin.com, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/)