We live in a community ... country ... world ... where opinions are widely varied, to put it lightly.

Across the board you will find oppositional opinions of everything from infant car seats, to methods of learning, to political and religious affiliations. Across the board, those who speak out have evidence and facts to support their stance. Their sources are considered credible by those who share them, even if they aren’t considered credible by those with an opposite opinion.

Increasingly, I have noticed that there is a lack of discussion or acceptance of differences and that personal opinion and preference is adopted as fact by the majority. This effectively closes one’s mind immediately. The self-proclaimed “open-minded” reached their own opinion and closed their minds, staunchly supporting their viewpoints in debate without taking time to consider the other side. This is not being open-minded, it is quite the opposite, in fact.

This lack of general open-mindedness breeds and fuels frustration, anger, misinformation, civility and so much more that is overwhelmingly negative in nature. Personal attacks, rudeness and treating others as less than human is running rampant and, let’s be brutally honest, it does nothing to sway anyone’s opinion.

This competition of “I’m right and you’re wrong” and the willingness to prove it is sending humanity down a rabbit hole that no one wants to be in, but no one is willing to dig out of.

I’m not even going to bother providing examples, because anyone reading this already know what I’m talking about; but I will say this — if you’re reading this and thinking to yourself, “This doesn’t apply to me. I am open-minded ... but I’m also right.” Take a moment and do some self-reflection; because if your mindset is that you are right, period, you are part of the problem.

There is a reason for opposing viewpoints. They are necessary. As infuriating as it is when your opinion isn’t accepted by others, your opinion is still necessary ... and so is the opposition’s.

I like to use a bird as an analogy in these instances. In order to fly, a bird needs its wings to work together. When its wings are level, it’s smooth sailing; but the unexpected is simply to be expected. A gust of wind requires a bird to regain its balance — one wing goes up while the other goes down, the opposite actions working to bring the bird level once again. Navigating around other birds or objects is also necessary, requiring the wings to work in opposite ways to return the bird to safe flight. This is much like opposing opinions.

Now, I will use an example. Imagine the bird being the United States, one wing being the Democratic Party and the other being the Republican Party. Both parties are doing different things (that they both feel are right ... that they both feel the other is doing wrong because it isn’t what they are doing ...) in order to become balanced and level.

Outside of politics, the same analogy can be applied to so many things — including how we treat each other over differences in opinion. I not only encourage but urge everyone to reassess how they address situations in their lives and redirect their focus to a more productive society instead of a steadily deceasing and increasingly volatile one.

Heather Kantrud is the managing editor for the Daily Journal.

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