“Let’s just agree to disagree.”
It sounds nice, doesn’t it? A neat, tidy, and respectful way to end an argument or debate. You have your beliefs, I have mine, and we’ll just set them aside as neither right nor wrong. We’ll both go on, happily secure in the knowledge that our opinions are equally valid and okay.
It seems foolproof. It does. And in many, many cases it is the kindest solution to disagreement.
But I’m not always going to agree to disagree. I’m not always going to “respect your opinion.”
I won’t agree to disagree with you if you think hitting children is okay. I will continue to speak out about children’s rights, and their right (like all people) to bodily autonomy, and to decide who puts their hands on them, and when, and how, and for what reason.
I won’t agree to disagree with you if you think it’s okay to make jokes about, disparage, or treat anyone differently because of their race, their religion, their gender, or their sexual orientation. I won’t agree to disagree with you if your position is racist, sexist, homophobic or otherwise unkind. I will continue to speak out about fair and equal treatment to all.
I won’t agree to disagree with you about religion, unless your religion (or lack thereof) teaches you to love, to include, to show compassion for all. I will continue to speak out about a Jesus that walked in love for all people, but especially for those who are marginalized by the rest of society.
I won’t agree to disagree with you if you think that mental illness is all in your head, or something that can be cured with “positive thoughts.” I will continue to speak out about awareness, education, and breaking the stigma for those with depression, anxiety, bipolar, and other mental health conditions.
Agreeing to disagree has its place, to be sure. Cannot stand my favorite band? Cool. Hate my favorite movie? Okay. Like nuts in brownies, pineapple on pizza, or caraway seeds in your bagel? Your choice to make.
But there’s a certain point where choices are not equal, where a person has to decide what’s right and wrong, and good and bad, and worthy of taking a stand. A hill to die on as it were.
Speaking as someone who is an entirely different person than she was 25 years ago, I know my opinion can be changed about many things. But not about this. Not about anything above.
Does that mean then that I’m a closed book? That I won’t even discuss it? The opposite is true. I think it’s important to talk about. I think that’s how seeds are planted. I think that’s how people grow.
But just know, if you choose to talk to me or fight with me about any of the above …. I will never, ever agree to disagree.