“I will be respectful of others whether or not I like or agree with them.”
This is the sixth rule of the Civility Counts pledge, and it’s one I often see people breaking. Turn on the TV and you see pundits aggressively arguing over who is right and who is wrong. When Beck won the Grammy last month, Kanye West stormed the stage in protest. Read an article online and you’ll notice so, so many nasty statements in the comments section. These people don’t even know each other and they’re ready to declare World War III over some hastily posted comment.
Too often we’re ready to act out when we disagree with others. It’s okay to disagree—life would so dull if everyone had the same opinion on everything!—but there’s no need to fight about it. Being insulting, shouting others down, or talking about them behind their back doesn’t solve the problem. If you want to see where that person is coming from, strike up an open and honest, but respectful, dialogue. If you still disagree at the end of it, so be it. Agree to disagree and perhaps avoid that topic in future.
If it’s a major issue at stake, use your voice in a more effective way. Why rant about things online and get into arguments with other online posters when you can actually make change happen? Write your representatives. Start a petition. Volunteer. Be an advocate. This is a much more positive form of standing your ground without getting bogged down in the nastiness of what’s right and wrong.