I like to surround myself with people that have different view points on the world because as they share their view points it broadens my view of the world. Maybe that sounds selfish, but I feel that when we stop trying to see different points of views we become stagnant and closed minded and I don't want to be closed minded or seen as judgemental. I guess I should clarify a couple things before I start.
Closed Minded individuals, for the purpose of this specific blog, are those individuals who refuse to see things from another perspective. They grab onto a view or belief and anyone who does not agree with them 100% are classified as stupid (which is not a true use of the word). They also push their viewpoint on you vigorously and when you give them facts to refute their claims, they mention their expert and how they wish their expert could set you straight. Closed minded individuals live in a very black and white world, it's black or it's white there are no colours and shades of grey, forget about it. I feel closed minded people are those people who bomb abortion clinics, who throw red paint on a lady wearing a fur coat, who shame you for working in the Oil Sands, and so on and so on.
Being judgemental is a human characteristic, but there are two types of judgemental people. Those who judge a situation and base it on their life and their understanding of what they have experienced and those who judge another person's way of life as being right or wrong. I fall into the first category, I hear different view points, I've seen different documentaries some of them I've adapted to my life, some I've dismissed. But I don't judge those people that choose to do differently as right or wrong, good or bad, they are just making different choices and it works for them so that is completely fine.
I always like learning new things, and often after a conversation with a friend I will process what they have told me. In the midst of the conversation I may not fall down as a blind follower and tell them they are completely right, but that doesn't mean I don't take into account what they have said and think of how to apply it to my life. But I like to come to things on my own, I'm not a blind follower and just because someone says this is the way of the world, does not mean that that is my reality. I'd make a very bad cult follower!
I get frustrated though when people assume I'm stupid because I won't drink the Kool-aid they are passing around. I may hold the Kool aid for a bit or I may out and out refuse it, but at the end of the day that is my choice and so long as I am not speaking negatively about the person it shouldn't matter if we have different beliefs.
I find that people become zealots about different things in life. So they buy into what they believe to be true and won't or can't see another perspective. For example, PETA participants (not all of them, but some) have been known to throw blood or red paint on women who wear fur coats because the fur coat came from an animal and killing animals for their skin is wrong. Ok that's all well and good that they believe that and that they live their life according to that, but that doesn't mean everyone has too. How do these people know that that fur coat wasn't a family heirloom the only thing their great grandmother was able to save in the war and bring over to this new world, and it was the coat she wore to get a job because it was the only nice thing she had. That animal then died well before PETA existed, in a time where animals probably weren't just killed for their furs, and if they were that was the way it was. It doesn't mean the lady wearing the fur was sending out people to kill more animals to make more fur coats for herself, she just wanted to wear a coat to feel connected to her familial past. Now it's ruined because a PETA zealot decided that their way was the only way and anyone else continuing to perpetrate an old ideal was wrong (stupid, soulless insert your own adjective). I don't wear fur, but I have shoes that are leather so I obviously don't buy into the PETA ideal, but I don't think people who choose to live that life are bad either. They are making a different choice, I just don't believe in everything they stand for so I can't count myself in as a believe of them. I do agree that animals shouldn't be mistreat or abused, that they shouldn't be used for testing products on. I agree to support companies that are actively not testing on animals but I'll also support companies that are working towards not testing on animals.
I also think their's a line too. I mean in the above example the PETA person was very concerned with the animal that had died to become a coat. Very admirable but that person completely disrespected another HUMAN being!! For me it's not wonder they get a bad reputation. If you are all for the dignified treatment of animals then you should at least be willing to treat humans the same. You can't sit there and say it's wrong to disrespect animals and mistreat them, when you are willing to disrespect and mistreat humans. That doesn't make sense, how can we treat animals better then we treat our fellow humans.
At the end of the day that's what it comes down to, for me. I'm very much for the fair treatment of all the creatures on this planet, I think it's important to keep a balanced ecosystem, but I also think it's very important that we treat HUMANS fairly. That we become more upset about a group of missing women in our country as opposed to someone still eating Beef. That we become more upset about the women who are forced into the sex trade instead of being upset that a company still tests on Animals because it's required to sell in China. I can't get on board with all this animal stuff until I see things happening that improve how we treat humans.
Saving that animals has not shown any indication to how we will save ourselves. People that save the animals aren't always concerned with the ramifications it has on the people, (again I'm not talking extreme cases) People who don't believe in the Rodeo and Chuck Wagon Races because it's cruel to the horses, refuse to see the other human side of the issue. Families that are involved with these sporting organizations are multigenerational, it's how they make a living, if they have to stop, who is going to support them? Who is going to help them learn new skills to contribute to society? And then what of the horses? Horses that have been bread since the Chariot Races in the Coliseum, to race are all of a sudden being put out to pasture, even those horses that are born to be racers but don't make the cut still naturally run, and race hard on their own and if they don't get enough work they become harder and harder to handle and dangerous.
The point of this blog is to promote tolerance, and acceptance. I don't have to drink your kool aid to respect you as a person. I don't have to be aligned with your beliefs to understand your point of view or respect that you see things differently. But just because I don't see them they same way doesn't mean I'm stupid, it doesn't mean that I have not given thought to what you said, it just means based on my own belief system I will respectfully disagree with you. It doesn't make your views wrong, it just means I'm choosing a different path.