Use Your Words
They say “Use your words” – speak up for what you believe in.
Speaking up is fine -unless it’s not what your audience at the moment believes. Be prepared for the conservatives in your circle to be shocked at your “ignorance of the facts”. Be prepared for the liberals in your circle to be dismayed at your “unenlightened views”. Be prepared to be declared “not a real Christian” by Christians or “a Christian fanatic” by non-Christians.
Centrist views need not be expressed – that’s the chicken way out. Only “extreme right/ultra conservative” or “extreme left/ultra liberal” is permitted. Most people don’t think they are “extreme” anything – but the people who disagree with them usually think they are.
Civil discourse is a myth – most “discussion” is meant to convince people why one opinion is right and the other opinion is wrong. “Conservatives” can’t win. They are labeled haters, elitists, bigots, science deniers. “Liberals” can’t win. They are labeled socialists, baby killers, non-patriotic, snowflakes, faithless.
There are definitely people who fit some, all, or many of those descriptions. But the brush we paint with is too wide, the box we put people in is too small. The pain we cause is too deep and the chasm too wide to cross.
Discussion is most satisfying when it is in person, thoughtful, interactive, respectful, and invited. When we can interact with those we disagree with and accept them for having different views – then we have the opportunity to grow together.