Whatever happened to the freedom of choice? How come we limit ourselves now the only two choices for anything at all? You are either Democrat or Republican, nothing in between. You're either right or you're wrong, there are no shades of grey. That's not the way the world works. That's not the way this country works. There are more than two options, there are more than two answers. In fact, there are a million different opinions. Not all of them right, not all of them are wrong, but a majority fall in the middle. Is it still possible to not just discuss those differences, but find a common middle ground? Or have we succumbed to the unwritten rule of not even considering a difference of opinion, and to lash out verbally, or even violently, against any who challenge your view of the world?
Column A or Column B
If I criticize a Democratic president, I am automatically labeled a conservative. If I criticize a Republican president, I am automatically labeled a liberal. But what about all the other options? Over time I've criticize both presidents, I've been labeled as both a liberal and a conservative, and neither of those are correct. But what's worse than being instantly met with hate and/or anger because you are an assumed enemy? Being completely disregarded as someone who's opinion doesn't even matter once they find out you are not in either camp, but have decided to think for yourself. If they can't instantly label you, you are a joke and treated as such.
This way of thinking stretches beyond the political realm, and extends into any decision that strays from the two "main stream" answers. Take prostitution. Now I am a happily married, and I can honestly say I've never even considered buying a "date" with a so called lady of the night. However, if I say prostitution should be legal, I am instantly thought to be a less than reputable man that is willing to pay for an evenings entertainment. Never mind the fact that I consider this a matter of treading on a woman's civil liberties, they don't even bother to ask that. Nope, let's not even consider that sex is legal, selling services for money is legal, but should these two legal exchanges cross paths then it's time to call the police! And let's not even get into the "you want that life for your daughter" failed argument. That's a post for another time.
You must be high
The so called "war on drugs" is another good example. You must either be a user, or a narc. There is no middle ground. As much as I can sit here and say I've never used any kind of "drug" that was either prescribed from a licensed medical doctor or available over-the-counter at any drug or grocery store. So when I say I think we should end the war on drugs and make everything legal, it's again overtly obvious that I am a junkie just looking to get his fix; not someone that believes in personal freedom and the right to put whatever you want into your own body, so long as it's done without putting the safety of others in jeopardy (i.e. driving under the influence is still not tolerated). No! It's unimaginable that a sober person would form that kind of opinion, it's just the drugs talking.
The point & Mrs Daisy
The drive this home, so to speak, we need to stop assuming every decision is a binary one. We need to not treat every idea that is different than ours as a threat against us personally. We need to listen. To process. To accept. To realize that we can find a middle ground, or abandon both our accepted and contradictory ideals for a completely new ideal we never even considered before. The world is not black and white, and mentioning those colors is in no way indicative of a racial comment. Learn to embrace other opinions, find common middle ground, and accept the fact that your answer may not be the best available option.