Opinion: Agree to Disagree?

I’m starting to hate the phrase “we’ll have to agree to disagree.”

But before I get into the why of it all, I figure I should explain that I’m going to break my own rules (sort of) by posting this. I am still going to steer clear of the hot button topics of politics and religion (which, unfortunately, so often go hand in hand anymore) and instead post up about other things that either irritate, make me happy, or whatever else comes to mind. I’ve kicked around the idea of starting a new blog for this sort of thing, to keep the writing and my opinions separate, but really, they’re very prevalent in my writing, so I may as well share them out here.

I’ll also leave the comments open… feel free to retort, offer opinion, but above all, do not be an asshat.

It’s my website and I reserve the right to be the only asshat here.

That being said, yeah, the phrase “agree to disagree” is more ridiculous now than ever. The last time I heard that was in a Facebook discussion on gun control. Differing opinions were bandied about and at one point someone offered that statement into the mix.

I almost commented on that discussion, but didn’t, and I’m thankful I didn’t for a couple of reasons. The first being my response would have been something along these lines:

“Fuck that. That’s the biggest problem today, this agreeing to disagree and basically saying bugger off to any opposing idea or opinion. We can no longer ‘agree to disagree’ when it shuts down active communication between people and/or parties. That statement is like taking your toys to the corner and hoarding them without sharing. The bottom line is we’re going to disagree with each other; that’s always been the case. We’ve lost sight of our common goals (which, in my opinion do not include religion or politics) and more importantly, we’ve lost our ability to compromise. When you ‘agree to disagree’ you’re not recognizing the validity of anything being said and your own arguments lose power; what you are, in essence, is a whiney twat whom no one wants on their team.”

So, yeah, I figured that’d just piss someone off so I didn’t say anything. This inability to really compromise is everywhere: collective bargaining (sports or union workers), politics, religion, and human rights. If we expect to make it, we have to relearn how to compromise, not only with each other, but with ourselves. It seems most of us feel inferior if we give up a point to someone else, we feel like our opinions, thoughts, beliefs don’t mean shit if we don’t get the whole damn hog on the spit.

And to interject, I’m guilty of feeling this way, same as everyone else. I’m not just throwing rocks, to be sure. My house is glass, too, and I’ve got a metric shit-ton of broken windows.

One could say we’ve forgotten how to prioritize. We spend too much damn time fantasizing about how things should be and we forget how things are and what’s needed to make things better. No one will have their own perfect utopia, but with a little work, we can all have a piece of it, a shared paradise where things are much better than they are now.

Oh, yeah, the second reason why I was glad I didn’t comment on that FB thread… the two arguing parties continued to speak there and found that common ground, discussed things rationally, and while no great strides were made in that particular conversation, it was nice to see it happening. Hopefully it’s an emerging trend.

With that in mind, I just want to say, change begins and ends with us, the people. We have to expect better; we have to be better.

2 responses to “Opinion: Agree to Disagree?

  1. You make several good points here, brother. I am guilty of using this phrase, and using it a lot lately. Most often it occurs when discussing the afore mentioned religion and politics but gun control is the big one these days. When two people are absolutely not going to change their minds and there is nothing left to discuss, agreeing to disagree seems like the most civil way to end the conversation.

    • We’re all guilty of using it. I’ve used it and I fully understand trying to end a conversation on a civil note, but I think what I’m really driving at is we can’t ever end those conversations. We have to always be an active and understanding part of them, no matter how uncomfortable it makes us at first. Of course, putting that whole measure into practice won’t be as easy as just typing it up here, I know. I’m an asshole. Worse, an opinionated asshole. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me.

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