Yesterday, I came across a blog post that discussed the debate over gay marriage. I read the post and wrote a quick comment about my general opinion on the matter. Later in the day, I checked the post again and found that another reader had responded to my comment by describing my logic as “infantile”.
Here’s a quick summary, even though it really isn’t relevant to the overall point of this post. I’m all for gay marriage. I believe that everyone deserves equality and that since such a change wouldn’t negatively affect the lives of anyone else, people shouldn’t stand in the way of other people’s rights.
I know, it’s simple and basic.
Regardless, being labeled “infantile” definitely stung. For a second. In the end, I just laughed it off and refrained from replying any further.
However, I did think about the matter throughout the afternoon. At times, I even began to wonder if this person was right, if perhaps I was actually dumb and simply unable to argue intelligently. After all, I had extreme difficulty in trying to devise a more credible and intellectual sounding opinion. In fact, my brain repeatedly came up empty as I searched for legal precedents, historical specifics or some flawless rhetoric to impressively spit out.
Feeling a bit confused, I wandered down to the beach just before sunset. As I was swimming in the ocean, I glanced around at the jungle-covered mountains and the rows of endless palm trees and I engaged in some polite conversation with a handful of local Mexicans also taking an evening dip.
And that’s when I discovered my problem. I am not dumb. I’ve just traveled too much.
Through extensive travel I’ve come to view certain issues as much simpler than many people believe them to be. I’m not saying that I can’t formulate a ‘deep’ argument or that these issues are not indeed serious, but that I am unable to understand why there is an issue in the first place. It seems grossly ‘infantile’ to me that ‘extending equal rights to a particular segment of society’ is even up for debate in the USA at all.
I firmly believe, in fact, I am undoubtedly certain that my philosophy stems from my exposure to an endless parade of all things ‘different’ – different people, beliefs, customs, behaviors, attitudes, fears, inequalities, preferences, hopes, challenges and lifestyles. I thrive on finding myself well out of my comfort zone and having to face the unknown and unfamiliar. It is a constant and most valuable source of education that I would NEVER trade for anything.
Ten years of traveling has led me to discard stereotypes, generalizations and misunderstandings, the same factors that actually fuel so many of the world’s current problems. I can honestly state that I see everyone, whether they worships cows, dance the Macarena in the shower, tattoo themselves to look like a lizard, live in an igloo or want to enter into a gay marriage, as fellow human beings and as equally deserving of the same respect as everyone else. Nobody can convince me that this attitude is wrong or misguided. And now that I have adopted this line of thinking, too many of the intense issues, and even wars, of our times, seem not only so unnecessary but so easily avoidable.
I stand by my simple belief that life is too short to spend time denying people freedom, happiness and equality. People can call it “infantile” if they wish. It doesn’t bother me at all. So it goes.
I’m perfectly content watching the sunset from a picturesque Mexican beach every night and playing around in the warm ocean water.
Am I the only one who feels that the lessons learned through traveling can lead to the elimination of problems such as inequality and discrimination?