Debate, don’t argue

James McCarley, Co-Editor

I love debating. I find it is extremely useful when I’m not sure about my own views or I’d like to learn something new. However, particularly on controversial topics, individuals often prefer to take a stance and not listen to someone with opposing views. To me, that is neither useful nor fair. To shut someone down merely because they don’t agree with you is the worst form of intolerance.

As Voltaire said, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” There is every reason for us to listen to someone whether or not you agree with them. When I’m discussing something with a friend or family member, I always try and stay open-minded about the topic. It is beyond infuriating when they don’t reciprocate. I feel the same way when I see the same thing on TV. As a society, I think we need to take a step back and look at things with a different perspective.

Obviously, things aren’t looking too great right now. But, we’ve been through worse. The only place we can go is forward, and it’s up to all of us to make things better. The best, first step we can take is to listen to each other, even if we don’t like what someone else is saying. As the semester begins, remember to treat everyone around you with respect. You never know what the person next to you might be going through. Sometimes, what we really need is someone to talk to.

One of the hardest things for me to do is accept I’m wrong. That’s probably human nature; no one likes being wrong. However, no one would learn anything if they didn’t make mistakes or have different opinions. Saying someone is wrong is very easy, but proving it should always be a priority rather than an afterthought. I think too many times people or the media will jump on the opportunity to talk badly about someone else without doing research or asking themselves if they should.

That is why I think people today don’t want to admit they’re wrong or talk about certain subjects. If they post something controversial on social media, friends, family or even strangers will be quick to condemn them, making all sorts of nasty comments rather than being uplifting or having a civil conversation. We all make mistakes or say the wrong thing, but that shouldn’t stop us from having a conversation. To deal with today’s problems, we need to have honest conversations, even if they might not be politically correct. Only then can people start coming together and accepting each other’s differences.

I always strive to see things from a different point of view, to put myself in other people’s shoes. It can be extremely easy to judge someone, but I’d rather understand them. If all we did was hate each other because we believe different things, nothing good will happen. The next time you’re in an argument or a debate, remember to always be willing to accept you’re wrong. It will be hard, but nothing good ever comes easy. Who knows, maybe you’ll learn something.