I hate disharmony.
I absolutely hate it.
It makes me squirm; makes my skin crawl like someone just ran their nails along a chalkboard.
If I feel like something is “off” between myself and someone else… I cannot rest. I cannot sit still or feel peaceful or move on until I find out what it is that is wrong.
I have to ask if “we” are okay.
And this. This is what I’m left feeling constantly about our country and our nation.
I want to shout “ARE WE OKAY!?”
We have forgotten how to TRY to understand each other.
We keep insisting that “If that isn’t true for me personally, it’s not true at all.” And so we slander the person who expresses how they feel, insisting that they are an idiot for thinking the way they do.
Racism. Oppression. Political opinions left and right.
I have never been a minority. I have never felt ostracized because of my race or even my religion. Even as a woman, I have never felt blatantly oppressed in my country. I haven’t been abused. I have never felt afraid that I will lose my job or not be able to pay rent. I have never felt at risk of being deported from my country or kicked out on account of my religion.
Those have never been my realities.
But that doesn’t mean those things don’t exist.
And I won’t shun the people who have experienced them or tell them they’re wrong for speaking out about their experiences. I won’t hate the person who supports a different politician than me because of something that is a reality to them that I have never experienced myself.
We must put aside our privilege and learn to listen. We must learn to have conversations and say, “Why do you feel that way? Tell me about your experience. What is it that I’m missing? What do you think needs to change?”
And this goes both ways. Conservatives toward liberals. Liberals toward conservatives.
“What about our culture makes you feel as if women do not have rights? What has been your personal experience?”
“Why do you believe that banning refugees from entering our country is the right decision? What experiences do you have that make you feel this way?”
This doesn’t mean we have one conversation and immediately agree with each other. This doesn’t mean we switch sides or drop our convictions. This just means we at least UNDERSTAND where the other person is coming from. And why they feel the way they feel. This means we put down our pitch-forks.
We must stop the anger and the hate; the rioting and the name-calling; the alienating and isolating.
We have completely abandoned the idea that everyone is free to vocalize how they FEEL and what their experience has been.
We MUST realize that we’re all living in the exact same world. Yet we all view it completely differently. I will not view the world in the same way that an African-American man does. Nor will I view the world in the same way that a Syrian refugee does.
Our experiences aren’t wrong or right. They are just our experiences. And we must seek to understand one another’s experiences in order to understand where people’s convictions and beliefs come from.