You can change someone’s mind.
Do memes that point out the stupidity of arguing over the internet make you laugh? Ironically, my favorite one, the one that caused me to laugh diet cola up through my nose, doesn’t make me laugh anymore. After I posted it, a friend changed my mind. She passionately explained, why she thought it was wrong to laugh at someone’s expense. She cogently argued that it was cruel to use the developmentally disabled for my punchline. She made a case that I would be a better human being, if I didn’t refer to the participants of the Special Olympics as retards. It wasn’t difficult for me to change my mind with her six year old Down syndrome daughter sitting in my lap. When she hugged my neck and struggled to say, “I love you,” it was harder not to cry, than it was to change my mind. The hope that you can change someone’s mind and the self-awareness to know that even the best and brightest are sometimes wrong, might belong on the Mount Rushmore of ideas that led to American exceptionalism and prosperity, as well as the betterment of humanity around the world. Ironically, with monumental changes taking place because of the recent Supreme Court rulings, a lot of people on social media seem downright bearish on possibility of changing someone’s mind. Pessimism for changing someone’s mind and criticism for any sort of advocacy flooded social media after the Supreme Court’s rulings along with the vitriol and jubilation over the decisions. Friends posted that arguing was a waste of time. Family posted it was impolite to argue about religion and politics. Why can’t we all get back to posting selfies, animals, food, and well wishes for the sick? Why do you want to change other people’s opinions? After all, it’s impossible. My answer is simple. Its possible and probable. Also, not enough people in America or around the world have experienced the benefits of exceptionalism and prosperity. People ask me, “How’s life treating you?” I often answer, “Life is good.” Sometimes I will say, “Compared to others, I have no complaints.” For others, life is bad. It is objectively, outside their control, a force of evil and suffering. Compared to others, they are miserable. A lot of people don’t care. I want to change their minds. The Declaration of Independence was a persuasive argument intended to change the minds of loyalists, as much as it declared the grievances against King George III, and the independence of the thirteen colonies. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” A lot of people did not believe those ideas were self-evident much less true. Our Founding Fathers passionately argued to change the minds of those people who disagreed with them. Some remained loyalists. Others changed their minds and joined the revolution that launched a new exceptionalism and prosperity in the United States of America and throughout the world. These last few rulings of the Supreme Court proved an argument can change a mind. Changing your mind about another’s right to life, equality, liberty, and happiness contributes to our exceptionalism and prosperity. However, if history teaches us anything, then it teaches us that there will always be people, who do not want others to have the same rights to life, equality, liberty, and happiness. Aggressive coercion unleashes a force, which attacks the mind’s ability to change and undermines the ideas of equality and liberty it seeks to affirm. It is to be used only in the most extreme cases of ignorance and intolerance. Instead, brilliant, powerful, logical arguments need to be made. There is plenty of room for gym guy selfie, grumpy cat meme, big ass twerking video, the seven pound heart attack hamburger, and the chain post supporting the poor kid with cancer without censoring well-reasoned arguments intended to change minds. Instead of hiding behind your anxiety and apathy, find the courage to engage the arguments for life, equality, liberty, and happiness. Go ahead and share your personal moments to the public. Post the funny (to you) and the sad (to you). I promise to like, comment, and share, even though you are embarrassing your children, but please try to change somebody’s mind. Trying to change someone’s mind is a positive act expressing great respect for another and optimism that you can make the world a better place. It just might be the most important idea for continued American exceptionalism and prosperity, as well as the betterment of humanity around the world.