I was not sure what I would write about this week until I saw the story of The Red Hen restaurant turning away Sarah Sanders from their establishment because she works for the Trump administration. Anyone who knows me knows I am not a big supporter of Mr. Trump and his aggressive, bullying demeanor. However, I do respect the importance of the office and I have faith in our democratic system. The United States represents freedom; freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom to disagree.
Our citizens have been disagreeing over immigration for hundreds of years. In the early 1900’s the Italian, Polish and Russian immigrants were negatively viewed just as the Muslim and Hispanic immigrants are viewed by many today. I think most Americans feel there needs to be comprehensive immigration reform due to the large amounts of people trying to come to America, but everyone has their own opinion on the best way to handle this situation. This would be a disagreement.
The definition of disagreement is the lack of consensus or approval. This means I may not agree with your opinion, but I can respect it is your opinion and you have the right to have it. The definition of discrimination is the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people. Synonyms for this would be bias, bigotry, intolerance and partisanship.
When I heard the story regarding Press Secretary Sanders this bothered me. This was a clear case of discrimination because of her political affiliation. Is this how we want to represent our society? Has it come down to the only opinion that is right is your own? Sarah is just doing the job she was hired to do. The President gives her information and she must deliver it to the press. If I walked into a store and had on a button showing I was a democrat is it right for the store owner, who is republican, to ask me to leave? Where does it end? In this day of social media everyone feels entitled to share their opinions, but does not appear to be tolerant of anyone that disagrees with their view. Is this who we want to be?
I have a number of military friends who voted for President Trump and believe in his views. I don’t agree with them, but I respect their right to believe as they see fit. These are good people and I love and respect them as they love and respect me. I would rather ask questions to learn more about where another person is coming from than close my mind to an opinion that is different than my own. I don’t agree with using Twitter or any other form of social media to project hatred and belittle people. I will continue to have strong opinions, but I also want to make sure I have an equal amount of tolerance for opinions different from my own.
At the end of the day I think we can all agree that insulting another person or organization is not the way to get anything of great importance accomplished. The change we want must and should start with each of us first. I know I will continue to try to be the change I would like to see in our country. The next time you have a conversation with someone whose opinion is different than your own, just ask questions. You will be amazed to know you can find common ground.