“I believe that one of the biggest problems that our country faces today is divisiveness – in politics, in religion, and also in culture. And I believe that it’s something that is the same across the world. And so that is something I would want to address. I believe that when people can learn to tolerate each other’s differences and respect each other’s opinions, then we will be a stronger nation and world.”
—Rachel Peters, Binibining Pilipinas Universe 2017
This was Miss Peter’s winning Q&A answer when asked by European Union Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen, “This week, the Philippines hosted the ASEAN (Assocation of Southeast Asian Nations) Summit. If you were invited to speak, what would have been your message to the leaders?” For a country comprising of more than 7,000 islands, plagued with problems of transportation, communication, pollution, criminality, corruption, and territorial disputes, divisiveness should be the last thing on our list.
In Facebook alone, there is a constant battle between liberals and conservatives. Catholics versus reformists. A fight between regionalism and nationalism. A disagreement that doesn’t seem to have an end. As Major Motoko Kusanagi in the 1995 anime film “Ghost in the Shell” puts it, “…my thoughts and memories are unique only to me, and I carry a sense of my own destiny … I collect information to use in my own way. All of that blends to create a mixture that forms me and gives rise to my conscience.” If we all act in the same way, then we’re pretty much robots, or worse, zombies. Difference in opinion isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but to disrespect or call someone names because of his / her beliefs is just ridiculously unreasonable.
Let’s exercise the phrase “agree to disagree” more. Not every discussion is a debate, and you don’t even have to prove your point. It is unnecessary, unhealthy, and if lacking self-control, the outcome could be much more horrible.
“Our maturity will be judged by how well we are able to agree to disagree and yet continue to love one another, to care for one another, and cherish one another and seek the greater good of the other.”