Are We Too Harsh On People And Their Opinions?

July 19, 2013  |  

I don’t know if anyone else had to do this in high school, but my sophomore year we were forced to take “Oral Comm.”  For those who don’t know, it’s short for Oral Communication, and it’s a class that teaches you how to do public speaking, by making you give speeches in front of the class.  I actually liked the class, but there were two things that bothered me.  A lack of originality, and the fact that I wouldn’t get a perfect on my speeches.

For the originality, it was like everyone would do the exact same speech.  We had to do an expository speech where you had to explain how to do something, and out of a class of about 25, about 17 of the students taught us how to create puppy chow.  It was great because I loved puppy chow, and with each class they would give samples, but it was like:  “Y’all don’t know how to make biscuits or something?”  So, I always strove to have very unique speeches, like “How to Do a Magic Trick.”  I always got points for originality, but never could get that perfect.

For our final speech it could be about whatever we wanted, and I was racking my brain on what to do when one day there was a documentary explaining why some people don’t think that we’ve actually landed on the moon.  I popped in a VHS and started taping it while I went to babysit.  When I finally watched it, I knew, this is what I’m going to do my speech on.  I also researched the theory further and even went the length of memorizing my speech (because I always lost points on looking at my note cards too much).  Speech day came, and I was ready.

I stood in front of the class, and started off by describing how I didn’t think that Americans really landed on the moon, and here are my reasons why.  Now, to be honest, I didn’t really believe my own speech, I just wanted a perfect score.  I’m not too big on conspiracy theories, but I knew that no one else would have that same topic.  So, with the bravado of a professional actor, I went into why it didn’t or couldn’t happen.  I even used footage from the documentary that showed the American Flag waving on the Moon. After my speech, I received a standing ovation, but two things happened.

The first, I didn’t get my perfect score.  I think I got a 98%.  The second was, about two of the students began to harass me about my speech.  “I mean, how could you not think that we landed on the Moon?!”  After about a day or two, I finally let them know, I didn’t really believe it, it was just a speech.  Oh, if only they would have listened.  For about a week they would harass me about it and then one of the guy’s father wanted to meet me and he called me a “Commie” in the parking lot.  “Well, I do look good in red, sir…”

I’m saying all of that to say this, WHO CARES IF SOMEONE HAS AN OPINION THAT DIFFERS FROM YOURS?!  Can we please just get to the point where we can agree to disagree on things, instead of insulting other people when they don’t go along with what we believe?  Everyone doesn’t have to agree with the same things.  It’s okay.  It gives life variety, a little spice.  Gives you more inspiration when you’re writing your manifesto of dethroning the upper class.  So, enjoy engaging someone and their different views, or at the very least, learn how to tolerate it.  Because no matter what you say, if they believe it, it’s not going to change it.

Kendra Koger moonwalks on Earth, and also tweets from there too @kkoger

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