Do you and your friends often have arguments over differing viewpoints?
We all have those friends who are simultaneously your closest friends and your worst nightmare at the same time. Do you know the ones that I mean? The ones who have exceptionally strong views about *insert topic here* and inwardly hate on you if you dont agree?
I have a number of these friends and I’m sure that, at certain times of my life, I have been one of them. However I do my very best to avoid it.
In 2012, I was just finishing up High School (capitalisation because it’s such a huge turning point in life) and was approached by a few of my friends to join an environmental group.
I politely refused, stating that whilst I supported the environment, recycled and turned off lights, I just didn’t have the time to join another club at my school at the time. Strike one.
A couple of months later, I was approached to vote in a survey by my same friends in relation to the same group. How much renewable energy should Australia have by 2020? Hmm…Thinking with my brain rather than my heart, I selected the option that read “25%”. Strike 2.
“Why didn’t you select 100%, are you against the environment?” they asked me, leaping down my throat in shock and sadness.
“I selected the option which I think is achievable by 2020, you need to set up positive and achievable goals if you want anything at all to be done,” I countered.
And it has been the same over the years with a variety of other topics – religion, politicis, veganism, vegetarianism. In the end, I often find it difficult to “agree to disagree” so I try to not bring up inflammatory topics.
Case in (inflammatory) point – I have a number of Facebook friends who, every year without fail, will post statuses and share a number of (generally unsubstantiated, ‘scientific’) links about why horse racing, in particular the Melbourne Cup, is a terrible event for horses and should be banned.
I understand that some animals are abused and that some are pushed beyond their physical limits, however there are laws and limits to protect racehorses. A horse can also break its leg in a paddock and have to be put down, same as on a racetrack, because horses with broken legs are notoriously hard to rehabilitate. However, I digress. I am not an expert on horseracing, however the numerous articles that I have read both for and against this topic somehow seem to make me more informed that the majority of uninformed, angry statuses and photos which are shared by friends and acquaintances on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Never mind the money that horseracing brings in to the Australian economy and never mind that ex-racehorses are often adopted. WE JUST NEED TO GET ANGRY RIGHT NOW AND SHOVE OUR VIEWS AT EACH OTHER.
At university, these friends become even more outspoken, and maybe as a Journalism/Law student I’ve come across more than a regular person would. You want a political debate? You’ll always find someone up for one.
Thinking about becoming a Socialist? Christian? Buddhist? Jewish? Or just want to state passionately that THOSE religious are the reason you’re Atheist/Agnostic/Jedi/Scientologist? University is clearly for you. Anti-Tony Abbott? Hate the Greens? Liberals more your style? Forget study, political/religious/food debates are where it’s at.
Finally, I’ll say this – we are all entitled to our own views and I get that we’re never going to agree on everything. I understand that, to some people, eating meat and caring the the environment and animals are two concepts which are polar opposites and you have to be one or the other. I get that celebrating Christmas and Easter was originally a Christian concept and that it should be considered weird to celebrate it if you’re not.
However, that’s life. Life is full of inconsistencies and oxymorons. I’m a New-Zealand born, Australian omnivore who loves vegetarian food, vegan food and meat. I love animals and the environment. I like walking, driving my car, riding my bike and catching the bus. I’m happy and interested to learn about other religions and cultures and I celebrate Christmas, Easter and Halloween. I’m not perfect, but none of us are.
Originally published on Buzzfeed here