I’m still trying to figure it out, Taylor Nation.
Regular readers of this blog know that I often use Taylor’s lyrics as an inspiration to talk about real world issues. This one is going to be a stretch. The world is a small place and the recent US elections have brought up a lot of radicalized opinions front and center. Suddenly everyone is supposed to pick a side. Political affiliations are now associated with extreme opinions for just about every social aspect.
But it the real world, I have found people have more diverse opinions that just one extreme or the other. A lot of people criticize movements because of what they do, or the way they do it, more than for their ideology. Criticism and tolerance should not be complete opposites. However constructive criticism has been replaced with vitriol and insults fly all the time. Trolling the other side, that is saying something offensive for the purposes of triggering people, seems to be everyone’s pastime. On the other hand, being oversensitive to the point of becoming irate at the touch of a feather should not be your modus operandi. There has to be some tolerance – and common sense – applied when someone is trying to get a rise out of you. Rule of thumb, if you can tell there’s nothing to gain from making the other person see your point of view, then move on.
Contrary to what people say, you can have a tolerant point of view in which your opinion might lean to either side without needing to put down everyone who disagrees. Being right does not require you to shame people who you believe are wrong. Can we stop this “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” thing? I am saying you should conform to every situation. You can very well dissent if that is your choice. But I do strongly recommend dropping the hostility out of your rhetoric. There’s a moment in which civil disobedience turns into public violence. Can attention be brought to a cause without insulting statements? Perhaps not in this day and age. Perhaps I’m completely off the mark. But I’ll always have the right to my own opinion.
Your opinion doesn’t have to match what people think of you. Don’t let people box you into a particular standpoint. You are allowed to doubt, analize and criticize everything. Every. Thing. That doesn’t make you a bad person, that doesn’t mean you’re a traitor to the cause you follow. Chances are that you are not alone. You just admit there’s always room for improvement. Make sure you join groups out of your own initiative, and keep your mind open to other points of view. And if you’re not sure, I suggest you lower the volume, seek quiet and peace and then listen or read the same ideas again. Do they retain their strength? Or did they only seemed to shine because of the tone and the loudness?
Coming up next, on next year’s calendar:
- February 4, 2017: Taylor Swift headlines the DIRECTV Super Saturday Night concert in Houston.