Ah, the never ending debates.
There’s no way to escape them and it’s become annoyingly obvious that there is absolutely no stopping them.
(My apologies by the way- I know it’s been a while since I’ve updated with anything but a photo challenge or a rant. I actually have a nice lengthy DIY post lined up but I’m fired up with resent debate ridiculousness and I need to get a few things off my chest. Stay tuned for my Pintrest inspired (or Pinspired as I like to call it) post next week.)
Back to the subject at hand, debates. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion right? And the beauty of free speech is that you can say whatever you want to pretty much whoever you want with the only repercussion being other people cursing you out and telling you why you’re wrong and they’re right. The problem with most debates these days however, is that they aren’t really debates as much as they are arguments. Okay, so debate and argument are synonyms but I think there is a difference. I think that a debate is a little more formal, it is something where one person can express their point of view and give a reason why, then the other person can do the same without any putdowns or superior attitudes, which is the road most arguments tend to go. Another thing with debates is that Side A, let’s say, might make a really fair point and Side B could say, “That is a fair point, and I understand your reasoning behind it, but here is a reason why my side doesn’t agree with it…”. Instead, in arguments, most people completely disregard any points from the opposing side and instead say things like, “Well you’re wrong and I can see why that completely went over your head, if you had any intelligence or morals at all you’d agree with me, because I’m right.”, which translates to: “LA-LA-LA-LA-LA I’M NOT LISTENING TO YOU BECAUSE YOU’RE WRONG AND I’M RIGHT! LA-LA-LA-LA!”.
The funny (and pointless) thing about “debates” these days is that they serve absolutely no purpose except they give us something to argue about, more time is spent having Side A tell Side B why they’re wrong through belittlement than discussing the actual topic. The two biggest topics that are bought up among my generation and peers on a daily basis are the ones which I will discuss. They are made up of people on opposing sides that just relentlessly bash each other. Valid points may be made but they aren’t recognized by the other side and nobody is doing anything to solve problems. We’re just going back and forth like a bunch of school kids yelling “I’m right!”, “No, I’M right!”. It’s exhausting, and it’s frustrating that all of this energy is being wasted arguing with each other when we could be using it to solve real problems that stem from these issues. Two sides could argue for twelve hours straight and by the end of the day each side would feel the same as they did twelve hours prior, except maybe they’d be filled with a bit more anger and hate than they were at the start of the day.
Let’s dive into some of these issues with as much of an unbiased attitude as possible.
The Abortion Debate
What it’s about: Obviously, abortion. Either you’re Pro-Life or you’re Pro-Choice. Pro-Lifers believe that abortion is murder because life begins at conception and it should not be the mother’s choice to take the life of another. Pro-Choicers (often incorrectly labeled as Pro-Abortion) believe that it is the mother’s choice what she is allowed to do with her body, not the church’s or the government’s choice.
The arguments surrounding it: There are A LOT of inner-debates that revolve around this issue that take it away from the main topic of it being the mother’s choice. The topic of rape; It being God’s will that this woman becomes pregnant vs. the woman becoming pregnant by being forced to have sex against her will. The topic of health issues; It being God’s will if the mother and/or fetus dies vs. the loss of one life (the fetus) opposed to two (the mother and the fetus). The belief that abortion is used as a contraceptive vs. abortions that take place when other contraceptives have failed. The topic of psychological pain and stress; That is caused by abortion vs. that which is caused by carrying a child that is “unwanted” and putting it up for adoption. The “inconvenience” issue; The mother is selfish that she does not want to take on the “inconvenience” of baring a child vs. the mother not wanting to bring a child into a lifestyle that is not prepared for one due to inability to receive appropriate prenatal care, a poor economic situation or an unhealthy family or living situation.
What we should be focusing on instead: Rather than arguing back and forth until the end of time on whether or not abortion is wrong, why don’t we do something to lessen the “need” of abortions by educating our children and peers about safe sex and practicing it ourselves? Contraceptives come in a large variety of options and are widely available across North America, (and European countries as well, but for the sake of these arguments and for obvious reasons I’m referring to the United States and Canada), and although they are not 100% effective and accidents do happen, it is more likely that you will not become pregnant if you use them, than you would if you didn’t. Yes, the issue of rape is obviously thrown out the window at this point (not because it’s not important but because if someone is being raped they don’t have a choice in the matter and therefore don’t have a choice if a condom is going to be used or not)- but not every abortion occurs because the mother was raped. If we focus on educating everyone on simple biology and safe sex (or abstinence, if that is what you believe) and the consequences of not practicing it, perhaps abortion rates will go down and the only issues that will be argued are the most important ones involving the mothers in a life or death situation and the victims of rape.
The Gay-Marriage Debate
What it’s about: When a man loves a man, or a woman loves a woman; should they be allowed to marry? The opposing side of this argument believes that homosexuality is a sin or for non-religious opposers, homosexuals are “abnormal” and “gross”. While the other side believes that it is their human right to love and marry who they want, regardless of nationality, religion or sex.
The arguments surrounding it: The sanctity of marriage; That the definition of marriage is between one man and one woman and that otherwise the institution of marriage is being trampled upon vs. Hollywood “so-called” marriages between a man and a woman that are thrown away after a few months or different sex couples who are married and continually practice infidelity. The lives of their children; That children of same sex couples will be mistreated and confused about gender roles vs. that the children of same sex couples will be raised with a broader understanding of different lifestyles and have strong family values because of that.
What we should be focusing on instead: Ending this outrageous back and forth bullying. Instead of arguing that the children will be bullied, why not instead promote acceptance? The opposers of gay marriage do not have to like it, support it or become gay themselves, but they don’t need to name call and label homosexuals as “unjust” or “abnormal”. Much like the supporters of gay marriage do not have to call the opposers “uptight bigots”. Isn’t it clear that this is just a lot of back and forth childish bullying? “I don’t want so-and-so to have this because they’re different than me”, “I don’t want so-and-so to tell me what I can or cannot have because they’re an ignorant jerkface who can’t accept differences!”. If we can focus our energy on educating our children and our peers that everyone is different and that we should just accept that, maybe the bullying will cease to exist. It doesn’t mean you have to embrace it- if you believe it’s morally wrong you are entitled to your opinion- however if you believe in values and morals then it’s presumed you also believe that you should treat others as you would want to be treated, despite their race, religion, sex or sexual orientation. THAT is something that should go both ways.
So, the age-old question: Why can’t we all just get along?
I realize that advocating for acceptance of another person’s ideals is about as effective as protesting a war. I understand that people believe strongly in their opinions and they feel the need to be heard, but I also think that you’re not going to be able to change someone’s opinion by debating with them. It’s so easy to say you would or wouldn’t do something, but until you’re actually thrown in that situation and are forced to act on it you really don’t know. It becomes more of a personal challenge then, doesn’t it? Just because one person might be Pro-Choice doesn’t mean she’ll have an abortion if she’s put in that situation and just because one person may be against same sex marriage doesn’t mean that they will bash and disown a family member who comes out.
The point is that we all have our own beliefs, our own moral code to which we each choose to live by. We may share those same feelings with the people in our family, or the people at our churches of choice, but not everyone in the world- or your neighborhood for that matter- is Catholic, or Christian, or Jewish, or Atheist. Does that mean that they are less of a person than you? That they aren’t as smart as you or don’t deserve the same things as you do? That they are “immoral” or “unjust” just because they disagree with you? That doesn’t seem like a fair or kind way to live.
Maybe next time, before you get into a heated debate with someone who thinks differently than you, think about where it will take you. Will you feel justified after fighting with each other for an hour, reliving old arguments, bringing up random topics and facts that weren’t even the subject you were debating in the first place? Will you feel more frustrated that this “idiot” is “blinded” by their faith, their political party or the media? Or will you realize that talking down to this person only makes you look like an arrogant jerk with a superiority complex?
Think before you debate and maybe, just maybe (yeah, I’m going to say it) the world will be a happier place.