The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Beliefs OK, stop yelling at me

By Bethany Peterson/editor-in-chief

Standing up for your beliefs doesn’t always mean getting in someone’s face, especially if you want to win them over to your side.

Politicians frequently launch confrontational attacks and they sprawl the fights across TV screens so the world must watch them.

During election seasons and big congressional debates, every person remotely connected to the debate digs up dirt, takes cheap shots and makes proclamations against bending convictions for anyone.

Politicians then seem to expect their opponent, whom they just humiliated in a multimillion-dollar ad campaign, to meekly bend to demands. When the vote goes against them, they threaten to sue, and giant temper-tantrums fly.

No wonder we still don’t have a federal budget.

Religion is even worse.

People who claim to embody love, forgiveness and peace and then launch self-righteous tirades against those who express different beliefs are a major reason others refuse to have anything to do with religion.

Crusades, witch-hunts and forced recantation of scientific observations are a few of the notorious historical examples of horrible acts done in the name of God. Modern examples include the Westboro Baptist Church celebrating dead soldiers and Muslim terrorism groups.

Don’t misunderstand me. People should stand up for their political, family, religious, educational and other beliefs.

But there is a constructive way, and there is an annoying way. And, while I’m not going to tolerate murder or breaking the law, there is value in the phrase “live and let live.”

Strength of convictions is shown not by loud protests or hard-nosed stances, but by taking an honest look at those convictions and really listening to what the other side is saying. Often, one’s own convictions mature when the individual does.

If people want to persuade someone to their side, they can find more effective tactics: informative speech, reasonable discussion, research and, for things like another serving of cake, don’t forget the puppy-dog eyes.

Each way is effective in its own time and place. But a harsh judgmental attack will only turn potential supporters into die-hard foes.

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