I’ve recently seen a FB post stating that the poster didn’t like someone giving a dissenting opinion because it further added to the divisiveness of the nation. In their reasoning, if someone objects to the norm, they are adding friction and stirring a pot that is already boiling. I get it. They want everyone to be happy and care-free, and although that is something to aspire to, it is not feasible. Actually, it is impossible to achieve. People yearn for a ‘simpler time,’ such as the fifties, because everyone knew their roles and didn’t revolt. Because of this, there was less chaos and confusion. The modern age comes with far more options and decisions and this creates more chaos, but that is what we have to accept. With more freedom to choose, there will be more opportunities to create confusion, but it also allows for more inclusion. It is a trade-off, and some people prefer the past because it was simpler, but it also meant less choices for minorities, women, and the LGBT community. So yes, there is more confusion today than in the past, but there is also more openness and inclusiveness than there ever was.
Back to the original post, I acknowledge that some people are fearful of turmoil and change, so they stifle it under the guise of ‘being a good citizen,’ and bandy it about when others protest, but what does being a good citizen entail? Does it mean someone who listens to every mandate proclaimed by the government and abide by it strictly? Does it mean never speaking up for what you believe? Does it mean never breaking the rules? If that was the case, there are plenty of people from history who didn’t follow this axiom as they chaffed against integrated schooling, fought a Civil War to keep slaves, boycotted buses because of discrimination laws, and dropped tea in the water to not pay taxes. Protest has happened on all fronts. Honestly, they abhor dissent not because they don’t want change, but it’s because they do not want that particular kind of change that they put up this guise of a good citizen. When the government issues a decree that you agree with, you label the opposition as a traitor, but when you are the one who disagrees, you are a true patriot. As a country, we were built on the back of revolting against what we didn’t believe, for better or for worse, and that will never change.
To dissent is to have a different voice, and to stifle dissent is to control the masses. Whatever side you are on, you must acknowledge the other side’s right to champion their cause. We must also recognize that peace comes in many different forms. You may be seeking peace of a different era that involves conforming to the norm and rules, but there are those who are seeking peace in the equality of everyone involved. You are not wrong and neither are they, but everyone must acknowledge that the modern society will always be precarious because the freedom to choose our sexuality, our gender, our mates, and who we are affords us to be. With more choice comes more confusion and dissenting allows for more choices. When you don’t dissent, you simply conform.