If you have turned the news on or gone on any form of social media in the last few years, you can see the growing divide between Republicans and Democrats. We fight on Facebook, block each other on Twitter, & disconnect in real life. We don’t communicate, we just yell and spew words at each other. It’s no longer a conversation about different viewpoints, it’s a complete and total divide.
A few months ago when the abortion rights of women in Alabama and beyond were being attacked, a local influencer, Corinne, came out with her story on why she was pro-life. From there, she started posting pieces from Live Action and other pro-life websites. As someone who’s been pro-choice for my whole life, I needed to reach out to her to talk about her side and throw some of my factoids her way. I assumed she wouldn’t even answer since she had over 11k followers. I was wrong. We ended up having a really heated but interesting discussion on our sides of the issue.
From there, we continued to have these conversations about everything from Planned Parenthood to Trump. We had this unspoken mutual respect for each other. Even though we didn’t agree on ANYTHING, we always heard each other out.
As time went on, Corinne and I started tagging each other on Instagram stories about how different we are but how much we still respect each other. I started getting texts and DMs from friends about our relationship. “How are you even friends with her?” “How can you possibly hold a conversation without losing your shit?”
We have these conversations because they are important. These conversations are what bridge the growing and scary divide in our country. Nothing is ever going to get done if we continue to tell each other that they are a “fucking moron” or “ignorant person”. It shuts down the conversation immediately and leaves both parties feeling even worse. If we ever want to see long lasting change, we need to be able to talk to each other, like human beings.
I have been blessed to have friends from all sides of the issues. From far right, to moderate, to libertarian, each person has brought their own side to an issue to help me understand the big picture of the inequalities of our nation.
I believe that strong, long lasting change, comes from education and conversations. Sharing facts and stories are what help people understand the need for major changes in our criminal justice system, police systems, immigration plans, and so much more.
The next time you are on social media and feel like telling someone they are “a moron” consider DMing them and having a constructive conversation. You both may learn something. – WM
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
Whitney Mooney is the Program Director for Popularly Positive. She works full time for YWCA Cambridge, a social justice non-profit organization in Cambridge, MA, as the Fund Development Manager. She is available via email and text any day of the week. She is an avid reader and political activist.