Sunday, February 10, 2013

I'm with Stupid

It was my great misfortune to be born into an intelligent family.  I am the youngest of five children and whatever nugget of wisdom I came upon was already old news to my siblings.  I remember coming home from first grade bursting with the knowledge I had gained that day, excitedly sharing with one of my brothers my new found facts.  I was told in the most bored way possible (which can be achieved only by an older sibling to an occasionally annoying little sister): "Well, of course, everyone knows that."  I was the youngest, the smallest and knew the least.  No one asked for my opinion.

This did not squelch my thirst for knowledge, but only drove me to learn more.  I became an avid reader, got good grades in school, attended college and got my BA in English.  I still assume everyone knows more than I do, but this just makes me want me to keep learning.

Now, I am no Einstein; there are many things I do not understand.   There are gaps as big as the universe in my comprehension of such things as actuary tables and football, calculus and insurance policies.  However, I try to consider more than one side to any argument, gather as much information as I can, and carefully weigh all facts before forming an opinion. (I also hate to be wrong, which makes it sometimes difficult for me to come down firmly on one side or another.)   I will freely admit to many unflattering character traits:  I am a mediocre house cleaner, at best; I will choose to eat apple fritters over vegetables and wonder why I'm not losing weight; and I rarely remember to floss.

But I am not stupid.

Which is why I feel compelled to remind those on social media  (or the news media, or any particular religious group or political party):  Just because I don't share your opinion doesn't mean I don't understand the topic.  Facebook is a great place to catch up with old and new friends, share recipes and ideas.  I have no problem with you voicing your political or religious views there.  But please, for me, your oldest friend from high school/new acquaintance/fellow soccer mom, don't make broad statements against those who might not share those views.  That political figure you didn't vote for?  Guess what, I did.  That group of people who don't think your religion is the only way to heaven?  Might be me.  People who prefer dogs over cats?  Guilty as charged. 

Am I a bad person because I don't agree with you?  I hope you don't think so.  Remember, it's me, Kristin/Kris/Krissy/KLAG.  We used to finger paint together/skip study hall/stay up all night complaining about our parents/boyfriends/jobs.  Don't you recognize me from over there?  I am not crazy because we're on different sides of a debate. We're just on different sides. 

You can rest assured that I weighed the same facts you did, I considered the "what ifs" and "what fors" and might have come to a different conclusion.  Please do not group me into the "you're either with me or you're wrong" group of those who may (or may not) be ruining our country.  Just because I took 2+2 and got 3+1 or 5-1 instead of 4 doesn't make me against you.  I just see it in a different way.

I try not to take it personally, but I have to say the presidential race was tough on me.  So many opinions being shared so vehemently.  I try to remember that these are people that I know and respect, friends and family.  People who have taken 2+2 and gotten 4, while I was composing an essay on what the number 4 means to me.  I'm trying to be open minded and take it all in stride.

So feel free to share with me whatever you're passionate about.  Tell me how your day was, boast about your kid, promote whatever cause you want.  Un-friend me for my opinions if you must, just please don't call me stupid.

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