As election season picks up I’ve seen a lot of people throwing around the term “sheeple” and calling on others not be “sheep”. I admit I’ve been guilty of throwing this phrase around myself and smugly thinking myself superior to those who were blindly following the crowd without question. But when both sides are accusing the other of being sheep, does it really hold any value or meaning? In the last few weeks I’ve seen a lot of sheep talk.
- I’ve seen conservatives and liberals refer to each other as sheep.
- I’ve seen skeptics and homeopaths refer to each other as sheep.
- I’ve seen homeschoolers and public schoolers refer to each other as sheep.
I could give many more examples but you get the idea. All of this was online in various forums and groups I frequent (but rarely post because obviously they aren’t always open to candid discourse) and I quickly realized that this has become a not-so-clever way to dismiss another person out of hand. It’s one thing to have a conversation with someone and realize that they have willfully chosen to be ignorant on a topic and that they think the most popular opinion is probably the correct one (truly sheepish behavior). However, it’s quite another thing to dismiss another person’s opinions just because they differ from your own.
I can be opinionated and stubborn but I do generally at least try to understand another point of view. I may not always agree with others but I do believe in treating them with the same respect I like to receive. We’ve all come to our world view through our own unique experiences and sometimes those opinions that seem foreign and ignorant are the result of research, time and effort. They’ve actually heard all of the points you’re making before and chosen a different stance. Looking at the same data and forming different conclusions based on that data is not being a sheep. Sometimes it might make one or more people involved in the argument an ass, but that’s an entirely different barnyard animal. 😉