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Message to Readers

I'm gonna republish this. Again, and again, and again.

We Are Not Enemies

February 23, 2019


    We may have opposing beliefs. Maybe I'm agnostic and you're religious. Maybe I support guns and you don't.
    I'm not your enemy.
    You're not my enemy.
    Even though we argue and debate, even though we strongly believe in our own opinion and refuse to be swayed (to the annoyance of both of us), we aren't enemies. So don't treat me as such. I won't treat you as such.

    It's a sad reality that most people, when they are strangers and are arguing about political matters, tend to think they are enemies. They think that the person opposing them couldn't possibly be a good, or at least smart being--they aren't someone who'd even agree on what to eat for dinner. They are an Enemy.
    It just isn't true. That the same person who so blatantly, horribly disagrees with you about this political matter may be the only one who thinks your idea is brilliant. That person who so stubbornly refuses to bow down may be the sort of person who'd cook you dinner, just to see you eat well for once. That person who refused to see your point and kept insisting that their was correct without even acknowledging you--they may love all the same movies, all the same foods, all the same activities.

    Remember that. Remember that when you next argue: they aren't your enemy.

    Unless they tell you you're a shitwad with an elephant face. Then they're just idiots who don't know how to argue and must reduce themselves to throwing shit like monkey.
    Even then, they're not your enemy. They're just assholes.

    Remember, that even though you disagree: they aren't your enemy.

That said, WtW has some of the most polite debaters I've seen, so keep it up!


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  • Blotted

    Please, anyone who is debating here or ever. Read the piece! No opinions are wrong here. Now I feel like a debater, but please, oh please, don't feel you are right. Believe in your ideas, and when someone tries to convince you, let them speak and try to understand them. Let them leave their footprints *before* the concrete sets, then leave them their as a reminder if you want to repurpose your building or continue on your path. You are all valuable, important, and most of all kind people! If this isn't a family, I don't know what is (debates and all!). We are a family

    over 1 year ago
  • Fatima M

    hi this is a really great piece. we were paired in the roadside writing club for February reviewing assignments and this is the first i've reviewed sorry i'm late.

    over 1 year ago
  • Dani A. Remlap

    I would like to offer the most respectful of high fives. This is great and I agree completely

    over 1 year ago
  • Christy Wisdom

    @RainAndSonder, ok, thanks for clarifying. @Anha, I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean by their own vanity. As in, we don't want to damage our reputations? I mean, yes, I don't want to damage my reputation by screaming hurtful things at people, or something, but I also genuinely don't want to hurt people's feelings in the process of debating. For one thing, that just wouldn't be kind, and I would feel bad about it if I hurt someone like that, for another, it doesn't help a debate at all to start insulting or hurting one another.

    over 1 year ago
  • Quille

    @RainAndSonder, that's one of the reasons I don't really like to get involved in debates on here; it doesn't accomplish anything.

    over 1 year ago
  • rainandsonder

    I kind of hijacked this, haha, sorry about that. I do agree with the message here, though, and I think when you're debating about an issue like, as Christy Wisdom said, the wall or immigration or abortion, then one of the main reasons that the two sides are divided is because they see each other as enemies and tend to villainize the other side. They can't just sit down and have a serious talk because they're too busy mocking each other, and nothing actually gets solved.

    over 1 year ago
  • Quille

    @Anha, I think you might be a bit wrong there. Some people debate politely because they are genuinely being polite and respectful. That's not me--I'm a stubborn person who tries to phrase things in as unoffensive way I can because I'm a coward who feels they can't stand up for themselves well enough--but there are a lot of people who are actually polite and respectful to others.

    over 1 year ago
  • rainandsonder

    @stripedfly1001 That really sucks that that would happen to you, and I hope this doesn't offend you, but if a person has homophobic/transphobic/sexist/racist views, even if they aren't the ones harming that group of people, they're contributing to the harm that those groups receive. In my opinion, if someone hates a group of people for something that they can't change, then that's very... morally dubious. Personally, I agree, and I don't think that all homophobes are bad people, but if someone sees homophobes as "the enemy", then I think they're justified in that. And there's a distinction between pro-choicers, who hold a certain belief about a certain subject, and people who hold a certain belief about a group of people.
    By the way, did you ever see my response to your thing on Paperbird's piece about LGBT rights? If you don't want to debate, that's fine, but I'd be interested in seeing your response on it.

    over 1 year ago
  • Anha

    the only reason that people are debating *politely* here is because they value their vanity more than pushing their point that they believe is correct. there's so many comments here that i can refute but honestly, i'm just done with most of the people here so idc anymore

    over 1 year ago
  • janice

    *me after telling myself I won't get into any more debates on WtW*
    @RainAndSonder I agree with you 100% here when you say that no one should be bullied/mocked, but I think that it's unfair to say that all homophobes are bad people/think they are bad people. I've been screamed at, bullied, and physically assaulted for saying that I don't like abortion, and yet somehow I don't see all pro-choice people as bad. True, there's at least 3 who are pretty bad, but it's not that they're pro-choice--it's them and their personal problems, not all pro-choice people.

    over 1 year ago
  • rainandsonder

    @Quille Well of course we’re all human. I suppose when I say minority, I mean groups that are discriminated against and treated unfairly.
    @Christy Wisdom Well, yeah, there’s a difference between debating and bullying, but what I’m talking about is the people who say it’s unfair that they’re seen as bad people just because they dislike a group of people, like, for example, gay people. Although I suppose that’s a bit different from debating too.

    over 1 year ago
  • Quille

    Thanks for putting this out there. I try to be polite when I debate, but sometimes I know it doesn't come across that way because I'm so stubborn :).

    Also, @RainAndSonder (not to start a debate) but most minority people aren't really minority. We're all the same no matter what color our skin is or what our beliefs are. People are people everywhere; no minorities, majorities, this or that.
    People = human beings = homo sapiens = the same thing.

    over 1 year ago
  • Christy Wisdom

    Well, she said political, not bullying. I believe this is more centered around the debates that go on about abortion, trump, the wall, etc. not as much for instances where people are just being bullied.

    over 1 year ago
  • pencils.and.paper.roses


    over 1 year ago
  • rainandsonder

    This is true, but at the same time, you can’t really blame minorities for seeing the people that don’t believe they exist or think that they’ll go to hell as enemies. It’s different when it’s about guns or whatever, and I’m still a big believer in polite debating, but if a gay person has been abused, erased, and mocked their whole life, then they’re perfectly justified in seeing homophobics as bad people in my opinion.

    over 1 year ago