My parents listen to right-wing radio. A lot of right-wing radio. The other day, my dad had on some local guy who was condemning all democrats as un-American and anti-religion and a myriad of other things that you can’t use to label an entire group. By the end of his rant, it became quite clear that democrats weren’t even people. They were horrible, soulless monsters hellbent on destroying not only this country but the entire world.
There are always going to be groups of people who hold beliefs that we don’t agree with. That’s fine. That’s part of life. However, there’s no sense in turning these people into mythological beasts that sound so horrible and depraved that no one would ever want to associate with them, let alone be friends. There’s no need to cast the other side of the argument as monsters.
I’ve made it very clear that I disagree with a lot of religious beliefs. Do I think of religious people as monsters? No (exemption: certain Catholic priests who sexually abused children and the people who covered it up). The average religious person is just a person who is doing what they think is right. It doesn’t matter whether or not I agree with it. It’s not my life and as long as it doesn’t affect me, they can have at it.
But this type of straw man argument is no way to argue a point or treat other human beings. I guarantee you that democrats feel that they are just as American as anyone else and what they believe in is what they believe is best for the country. They’re not out to destroy America. They think that what they are doing will help. And just because they have a different approach or a different point of view, that does not make them vile or monstrous.
People are just people. The vast majority of people do what they think is best. With the exceptions of sociopaths, and they are exceptions, most people are generally good. And if they’re not good, then they’re most likely not the heartless demons that people are willing to portray them as.
When making an argument against a belief, it’s important to not cast the opposition as so distasteful and hellacious that no decent human being could ever side with them. People are just people. Just because they’re different from us doesn’t make them bad or wrong. Also, if your argument is solid, it can stand on its own without vilifying anyone who believes differently. Arguing a point doesn’t have to revolve around disparaging your opponent.