Respecting other people is both free … and priceless.
A zero-sum game. “In economic theory, a mathematical representation of a situation in which each participant’s gain (or loss) of utility is exactly balanced by the losses (or gains) of the utility of the other participant(s).” —Wikipedia
More and more people seem to operate as if giving another person (or group of people) respect means we lose some ourselves. This is just fundamentally not true.
Many things in life are competitive, creating a win/loss scenario … but respecting other people isn’t one of them. Treating people decently and humanely costs you nothing. It doesn’t take a way from your lot in life. It doesn’t bring you down, hurt your career, take food from your family, or kick you out of your house. It is the right and decent thing to do.
Allowing same sex marriage doesn’t remove your right to a hetero-sexual marriage. Also, it doesn’t impact your right to respectfully practice your religion, whatever religion that may be. The two have nothing to do with each other.
Respecting a Muslim woman’s right to wear a hijab without harassing her or calling her a terrorist doesn’t impact your independence or love for your country.
Allowing a black man to walk down the street in a hoodie, without calling the police, doesn’t infringe on your rights.
Removing the n-word or the r-word from your vocabulary doesn’t make you less of a person.
Giving a woman the right to control her own body doesn’t require sacrifice on your part.
Philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote, “If an opinion contrary to your own makes you angry, that is a sign that you are subconsciously aware of having no good reason for thinking as you do.”
Too often, the news stories of violence come back to an unwillingness to accept our differences. People aren’t going to be just like us, and that is what makes this country great. Respecting another’s ability to have their own life, views, and beliefs doesn’t become an attack on our own views. If anything, accepting that people can experience the world in different ways firms up our beliefs. We stand for something because we analyzed it. We wrestled with it and determined that this is what we believe.
Allowing other people to stand in their own beliefs strengthens our own … as we are all created equal. You have a right to yours. I have a right to mine. Any attack on your ability to be who you want, believe what you want and live your life … is a direct attack on my ability to do the same.