March 3, 2020
Some people may see the title of this article and become immediately filled with rage. Politics and people involved in them can be an extremely sensitive subject for the average American. But why is this?
Politics have always been widely debated from the time of ancient Romans and Greeks to the present. Currently, politics are one of the most talked about topics in everyday life.
In contemporary politics, it is hard to avoid the topic of Kaitlin Bennett, knows as “The Kent State Gun Girl.” Bennett uses shock value and often obscene comments to upset those who do not agree with her. Bennett’s YouTube channel, “Liberty Hangout,” features her routinely asking college students, political activists and bystanders about their various political opinions. This YouTube channel’s enumerated purpose is to be an “alternative news source which strives to bring readers relevant insight into current events,” though it is hard to see how this can possibly happen after watching a couple of her YouTube videos.
While Bennett seems to promote political discourse and education, it is enormously apparent that her main goals are to shame people with different beliefs than her own.
Bennett displays many of the things wrong with contemporary American politics: lack of respect for others, fallacious reasoning and a biased sense of judgement.
Bennett routinely disrespects people on a personal level and for their political beliefs. Instead of trying to see their point of view or reasoning, she immediately jumps to conclusions about who she believes they are and how wrong they must be.
Many of us are guilty of these same actions. When faced with an opinion, especially a political one different than our own, we simply blame the person and ignore their entire reasoning. We may write the person off based on that person’s characteristics or something else irrelevant to the conversation. Politics have turned into a place where people can now say obscene words at others and justify it because of their political beliefs. This is childish behavior. One of the first things we learn as children is to respect others no matter their beliefs.
Respect is a cornerstone of how an ideal political system should work. Instead of empathizing with others, we judge them and do not hear what they are truly saying. There is a difference between being passionate about your beliefs and being ignorant. Respect yourself and your beliefs enough to respect others in their own.
Listening to the other sides of a belief or opinion may allow you to strengthen or even change your own beliefs. So, the next time you hear a political belief you do not agree with, take a moment to really think about what that person is trying to communicate and respectfully speak to them. They are just trying to understand their beliefs in an incredibly complex world.