Here’s a promise that I think every person in the world should make:
“If I love something but another person hates it and openly criticizes it, I promise not become angry and verbally or physically attack that other person because everyone gets to think different things.”
This means that when I say that I despise sushi, Donald Trump, The Police’s Roxanne, the New York Jets, mayonnaise, clothing affixed with a brand name, kugel, Ethan Frome, Dr. Pepper, gerrymandering, backing into parking spots, the mall, The Royal Tenenbaums, the billing of congregants by religious institutions, clutter, hubris, the structure of the US Senate, meetings, soccer, reality television, assault weapons in the hands of citizens, Mitch McConnell, conspicuous consumption, March, persistently negative people, conspiracy theorists, dress codes, traffic, and anything written by Virginia Wolf…
… you should not feel upset or offended or outraged or defensive because my feelings about these things have nothing to do with you. As long as my opinions don’t manifest into actions that harm the world, you should not become enraged. You should not call me infantile names. You should not threaten me with bodily harm.
Disagree. Debate. Offer reasons why I might be wrong, but don’t become angry.
Everyone gets to think different things.
You even get to think that I’m a moron. An idiot. A fool.
Just be nice about it.
To that end, I don’t even care if you’re a racist or a sexist or a bigot of any kind as long as you don’t attempt to manifest your vile and hateful opinions into structural change in our society. Think what you want as long as you don’t attempt to infringe upon the rights of others.
This is why I don’t become upset or angry when someone tells me that they hate Bruce Springsteen or the New England Patriots or Stephen King or snow days or The Matrix or President Obama or McDonald’s cheeseburgers or golf.
I might think the person is misguided or ridiculous or uninformed or lacking taste, but I don’t become angry or call that person names because we all get to think different things.
As a person who has been expressing his opinion on this blog every single day without exception since 2003 and out loud for most of his life, I can tell you that people forget this sometimes.
They forget this sometimes a lot.