Sunday, April 28, 2013

Extremism of all flavors

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In the last year I've become increasingly aware of something I find IMMENSELY bothersome. There is a great deal of extremism everywhere I look, not just religious, but political, social, economic... the sky is the limit! So I want to take some time today and talk about some of these extremist mentalities and the problems they create.

How do I define extremism?
Just so I have everyone on the same page with me, I define it as a single minded fixation on one idea with little regard (or respect) for opposing points of view. So there is a difference between someone making a claim and using well balanced evidence to back it up and a person who makes a claim and uses only evidence that supports their claim to insist they were right.

Extremists come in all shapes and sized so don't think I'm just referring to Muslims hellbent on jihad, that's only one type and a relatively small one at that.

Extremists among you!!
We all know them, they occupy little parts of our lives, be they the person on facebook who only posts political updates to the bible thumper down the street that thinks it's his/her duty to save the gays from their sinful lifestyle. Those examples are easy to spot, but what about not-so-easy to spot extremists? Well, it all depends on your locale and disposition, but there's ways to find them, look for folks who have an unhealthy fixations on something and will defend it at all costs (Living in Texas  that usually comes in the form of 2nd amendment supporters). Take some time and look around and in short order you'll come up with a list of at least 5 people who fit that description.

What do I do now?
Well, here's the kick: try and see it from there point of view. These people feel the way they do because of a certain reason, some thing happened. Put their shoes on and look at the situation through their eyes, sometimes you'll be surprised to find you agree with them, but just take issue with how its worded or presented. A friend of mine is on the far end of the political spectrum and at first I loathed talking politics with him because I was scared I'd get an inbox full of hate mail, but after many conversations and debates I found that he and I are not very different, we simply view the same solution to a problem from different perspectives. He and I have our disagreements, but we never talk bad about each other to anyone because we have a mutual understanding that we're simply coming from different backgrounds. Strangely enough, even though our methods differ, we still desire similar, if not the same outcome to a situation. It is ALWAYS useful to have a differing opinion than that of your own because it help you understand that not everyone is as crazy as we normally think.

The major theme I'm trying to get across is that we as a people are looking for more and more reasons/ways to segregate ourselves and it's time we do the opposite. There is much more to be gained by cooperating and finding our common threads than pushing everyone away. This can be applied to the political arena, matters of belief/non-belief, society, and just about anything else you can think of.

That's all I feel like talking about for now, I'll be back when I've got my thoughts gathered for my next post: "Today's America and the Millennial Generation"

Note: As a favor to me, could you please make sure you use your turn signals and stop at stop lights? I'm becoming paranoid about that. (spread the word!)

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