It's a very Trek kind of day, I must say.
The internet is a strange and wonderful place. By reinvigorating my passion for this television show over the course of the last year or so I have "met" people from all over the world, some of them I've even had the extreme pleasure to meet in person.
The one thing I've loved about it is the exposure I have had to people of different beliefs, ideals, backgrounds and philosophies.
On a rare occasion, I've lost budding friendships over the patent differences in some of those opinions. While, in a sense I only have myself to blame – because I was the one who verbalized my own opinion and "put off" the other person – it's hard not to become defensive about it. Maybe I handled things wrong, or maybe the friendship never had a chance – I'll never really know. It's just so disappointing.
While I have a personal need to practice tolerance, sometimes it's really, really hard when I see an opinion posted that so differs with my own it raises ire. An example was my tripping over a recent comment on someone's blog (for those of you who "know" me, I MUST clarify this so you don't think I'm talking about you – this post was NOT on Facebook, nor was it on TrekUnited or The Omega Sector, it was placed somewhere very different and it was NOT a Trek site.) where someone uploaded a video of the most shockingly hateful, racist and gay-bashing opinions that I wanted to vomit. Hate like this terrifies me, especially when it appears from someone that you are just "getting to know" on the internet. Opinions like these are hard if not impossible to change and I know better than to try. It just hurts when you feel you have to disassociate yourself from someone because their opinions are so vastly different from your own that you don't feel comfortable speaking to them anymore.
Someone recently did that to me, and as much as it hurt to see that they felt that way about me, I have to respect their opinion and I still wish them well.
I've never been one to hide my own opinion. If I did, I wouldn't be a blogger. I'm not afraid to be honest about myself either. Sometimes it takes a friend to hold up a mirror to my face to get me to see parts of myself but I really do appreciate when people do. I may not agree with their interpretation of what's seen in that mirror, but hey – that's the beauty of the differing opinion.
I have found that since I've renewed my fandom for Trek, I literally crave that diversity. I love surrounding myself with people from everywhere and talking…learning about our differences and then challenging myself on how to tolerate them.
I use the word tolerate with reason. Tolerance does not mean acceptance. I don't have to change my opinions to be able to tolerate the opinions of others. I don't have to accept those differing opinions as true in order to tolerate them either.
Yesterday I took a huge chance by expressing my opinion, knowing it was very possible that the person might have taken offense purely because my opinion is VASTLY different from theirs.
I prepared for the worst. I prepared myself for the potential that I might have pushed this person away.
But this person saw past it. This person "got it." This person (and I hope this person takes this compliment as it is intended because trust me when I say – it's NOT something I'm saying lightly) practiced what they preached. But what was even better about it, was that I might just have made a few MORE friends because of it!
WHO KNEW! People who want to be friends with people BECAUSE we are different!
Hot damn! How awesome is that?! How freaking Trekkie can you get? How wonderful!
A very good friend of mine who also has opinions that differ wildly from my own once told me "Hey, if Ruth Bader-Ginsberg and Antonin Scalia can be friends, why can't we?"
The one thing that attracted me to Trek fandom has always been that wonderful challenge of learning from those around you…you know…
To my new acquaintances I just want to say…I look forward to the challenge of that exploration with you.
Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations, yes?