How to handle Westboro Baptist Church

A lack of compassion, respect and chivalry results in dire consequence of fledgling insanity and utter chaos. It’s a topic I call the war of egos. It’s a term that defines a generation full of themselves.  A generation that finds it necessary to drop the golden rule and pick up blatant disrespect.  It’s the people that believe they are owed something and constantly angered when things don’t go their way.

The only time I feel respected is when people occasionally hold the door open for me. Notice, I said occasionally; this should be a habit, people.  If someone is behind you by less than 15 feet, then wait an extra two seconds and hold the door open for them. Greet each other even if you are complete strangers. It shows a level of respect for your brother/sister, a notion of camaraderie for your elder and a basic instinct on benevolence for your superior.

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Feel legitimate concern for your fellow students’ well-being; don’t be a walking formality. A little respect goes a long way. Who knows? Your tidbit of generosity may just brighten a friend’s day enough to help them avoid future negativity, either to themselves or to someone else.

People are just that — people. This entails feelings and emotions, mind and a body. The term “person” denotes personal space and a need for connection and sensitivity. It’s easy to forget that the person we love, a classmate or a complete stranger who’s having a bad day is a person underneath their apparent negativity. Just because someone acts ill towards us does not mean there should be vengeance.

The Westboro Baptist Church is planning a  protest for the graduating class of 2014. There are Facebook groups planning on counter protests. Within these groups there are people who plan to counter protest out of anger and hatred. Denver resident Dan Jones posted, “I’m just talking about how I need to speak my mind to them and I will probably be doing so with tears falling down my cheeks. What they do is not something that should be happening in this world. You do it your way and I’ll do it mine. I’m just saying that I’m not going to be peaceful about it. I’m going to be angry about it.” They are anticipating the opportunity to use violence and hateful words. This is how they get recognition.  Besides, in the end these ego militant, counter-protestors are just adding fuel to the fire.  Don’t recognize people’s negativity, don’t get dragged into the drama.

We don’t combat hate with hate, we combat it with love. Westboro Baptist church makes money off defamatory content against them by suing for reprisal. Everyone has the right to express his or her opinion no matter how gross they are; you do not have the right to battle them head to head in an attempt to show who’s more egotistically powerful and ethically right. If you want to win, just ignore them, don’t give them a presence, don’t give them ears to their voice. This can be said for any type of disagreement or fight between anybody.

If you don’t like another person’s tone or their attitude, don’t give it back to them; just ignore them. Show them love anyways. Rise above their hate and confusion. Listen to them and try to understand where they are coming from.  Put yourself in their shoes.

The axiom of disagreement stems from a lack of understanding. No one tries to be mean — intentions are just misunderstood or not tolerated. Just take some time to understand.

With finals coming up and graduation right around the corner, stress is in full swing. I challenge you to be the bigger man. I challenge you to go out of your way to be nice to everyone you see from now on. You don’t need to engage in full-fledged conversation with every single person. Just recognize and respect people’s attempt at communication. Gandhi once said, “an eye for an eye makes the whole world go blind.” Rise above the name calling and vengeful tactics, rise above the yelling and the hate.

Understanding can be hard. Emotions have a mind of their own. They have more momentum than Arnold Schwarzenegger on steroids. Recognize the encroachment of strong emotions. Learn to walk away, learn to shut up, learn to swallow your pride and ego and just say “OK.” Is this misunderstanding more important than the friendship or relationship you have invested or are about to invest in? Have some class.  Disagree with style.

Everyone is trying the hardest they can to understand and be understood. Some people’s attitudes shine brightly and others flicker — but that’s who they are. Love and respect each other, show some chivalry And most importantly, treat people the way that you want to be treated.