Can’t we all just get along?

Kelly Mills

Here I am with two semesters left in my college career. I’m getting ready to apply for graduation, start thinking about where I want to live and begin researching the car I’m considering making a graduation gift to myself.

But in three years, I’ve realized something. I have spent three years keeping my mouth shut, and I’m sick of it. I don’t like confrontation, and I try to avoid making people angry whenever possible. I can name a few choice times in the last three years when this has backfired because some people fall below the “average” maturity level of a college student.

The “fights” I have had mean little in the great scheme of things, though. I refuse to argue politics, religion or important issues. I have found this to be a complete waste of time. It’s not that I’m not open to discussing my views, but few people seem capable of this.

When I try to get into an intelligent conversation, I find it difficult to keep people under control. Everyone has their hot buttons, and if you push them, no matter how politely, they’ll likely go off. So I just shut up.

Save a few close friends and colleagues, few people could tell you the “important” things about me: What political party I am affiliated with, what my religion is or where I stand on the death penalty. I think it’s sad that I can’t speak.

I’m not going to divulge the answers to those questions here. It will inevitably lead to something far greater than I wish to deal with. I just want to make the point that citizens of a free country should not be afraid to speak their minds.

Bring up abortion and someone will lecture on the same points I’ve heard a million times, but I have a reason for my stance and it has little to do with some of those issues.

Discuss the president and someone will blow up about whether or not the situation in Iraq is positive.

Reveal your religion or nationality and risk being placed into a stereotype.

I came to Kent State to be in a diverse environment with educated people willing to engage in an intelligent conversation. Everyone has their passions, but that doesn’t mean your argument needs to be made illogically.

More importantly, pushing views on others is disrespectful, ignorant and wrong. An intelligent conversation of the issues may bring about a change in thinking of your “opponent.” Getting into a screaming match about the death penalty will get you nowhere.

The problem with the conversations people have about hot-button issues is that people feel they must convert the person they are talking to if the other person does not agree with their precise point of view.

Next time you discuss a point with someone passionate about it, just intelligently discuss the issue and you might actually come away from the conversation enlightened. You probably won’t change their mind and they probably won’t change yours. But this way you’ll have a much better chance of learning something and understanding someone and his or her point of view.

So come on. Can’t we all just get along?

Kelly Mills is a senior news major and a columnist for the Summer Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].