Respect - Why?

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There are some people on this planet that I’ve worked with or have had some interaction with where I grew to respect them and their opinions. I like to think of myself as a fairly open minded person and I respect that nobody on Earth has the same ideas and values that I do. As such I listen intently when people have vastly differing opinions as my own so that I can understand them. Usually immediately before I dismiss them as extremists. Just kidding about dismissing them.

There have been several occasions in my life where I really felt that I was being actively rejected due to my beliefs. The first was the day after I started work at Extractable. It was Election Day 2004 and I was going to lunch with some new colleagues. Along the way the driver said, “I hope nobody I know voted for Bush.” I kept silent because I did in fact vote for Bush. Everyone else spent a few minutes complaining about Bush and how stupid someone would have to be to vote for him. Then the driver noticed I wasn’t joining in their group hate speech and jumped to the conclusion that I did vote for him. She stopped the car and in all seriousness told me to get out and walk. Her boss was fortunately sitting in the passenger seat and told her to stop joking and get moving. Since that day I was ridiculed for my beliefs, even though I never stated them out loud and, more importantly for me, I never tried to impose my beliefs on any of them.

Jump forward 4 years and there’s a new president starting in a few days. I am sad that Mr. Obama will be taking the oath of office soon, and more importantly I’m a little afraid of the policies his administration will put in place. I do not go out of my way finding all the dirt that others have found on him, and I certainly am not actively telling everyone what a capital offence it is that he’s the new president. However, even though the democrats have won this election those people from my previous employer, and more than my fair share of current co-workers, are still taking the Mick out of Bush.

I’ve had it. I’ve respected the opposing side’s opinion for far too long without the decency of them returning the favor. Nobody has ever asked me why I have the beliefs I do instead they immediately assume I’m a bumbling fool in need of direction. However, I am in most cases at least as informed as most of them. Tonight on Twitter someone that I have a huge amount of professional respect for crossed the line for the last time with me. “Somewhere a town will be getting their idiot back on the 20th.” Very clever, but also very hateful.

Before any of you out there open your mouth to bash the opposing side on any conversation, or take a totalitarian view of anything think about this; What you are practicing is a form of hate speech. Nobody would allow you to talk about minorities in this way, and yet it seems to be okay for you to practice your hate on my beliefs. Shame on you. You do not deserve any respect you may have received from me in the past.

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