Earlier I wrote that people are wrong. Indeed they are, although I didn't really explain what exactly I meant by it.
You see, people are wrong not because they're imbeciles, (I'm looking at you, Connecticut), but because they do not take the time to listen to you or really get at what you have to say. This is especially true in public scenes. Although this phenomenon is blindingly true with politics, but most arguments on various subjects follow the same pattern.
Seriously. How many of you come away from argument and debate (Greek argument, not sibling argument about who called 'shotgun' first) feeling that the other party truly listened to you and came away with a little bit more respect for your opinion-- regardless of whether or not they agreed? On top of that, do you make sure you form your opinion only after being informed from reliable sources and steady thinking? I usually don't, but I try to.
When it comes to politics (easiest example) things just plain get too emotional and polemical, and that's why so many arguments take the shape they do. People aren't listening to what you say, they're feeling what you say. If they don't take the time to listen to what you say they'll likely get the wrong feeling and react in kind. Likewise for opinions formed based on everyday events. You hear what happened, you look at it through a lens that has been focused and shaped through your perspective and generally react from your gut. I guess my anthropology professor was right. Most of us are just plain egocentric. The worst part is that we persist in being so when evidence to the contrary is directed at us. "You're just a liberal-- you hate guns." Ah. So cut and dry, so compartmentalizable. So easy to dismiss, so easy... so easy. So sad.
Despite the raging infection rate of this epidemic, the cure is simple. Other than the ego, the pain index is quite low as well.
Just slow down, realize you don't have the facts, and get them from informed sources. Realize that other people will disagree with you and a fair majority of those won't think much of you despite not listening to a word you say.
At the end of the day, just remember this simple maxim: People are wrong.
Oh, and while you're at it, remember this one: Never argue with a fool. Onlookers can't tell the difference.