In movies, you get to see characters evolve or devolve over roughly 90 minutes. Good films have decent character development...and others don't develop shit and are filled with one-dimensional characters. "The Dark Knight", for example, has Harvey Dent, and by the time he becomes Two Face, you don't see him as an "evil" villain. Hell no...I felt empathy...or sympathy. One of those. I felt some sort of pathy...um...let's move on.
Then there's Billy Zane's character in "Titanic", who should have just had a big goddamn black moustache and tied the chick to train tracks. This would have been strange on a boat, but he might as well have. Just a big ol' one-dimensional pile of crap.
I think our lives have characters in them in the same way. We have well developed characters in the form of friends, family and coworkers, and we have characters that are just flat, undeveloped, and there to be judged by us and our lack of knowledge of who they are completely.
I'm bringing this up, because it is the answer to the questions we all occasionally ask:
-- How can anyone be a Republican/Democrat?
-- How can that person believe in Jesus/Allah/nothing?
-- A vegan? Really?
-- Capitalism/Socialism/Communism is evil. Can't you see that?
We don't have to agree with the other person, but it is so much easier to not take the time to walk in their shoes and get to know why they believe that way and just flat out say "fuck them".
I grew up a preacher's kid, son of two teachers, lower middle class. A Christian. I became an atheist for a while. Buddhist/Taoist. When I was married, we were close to upper middle class financially. I've been homeless. I've voted Republican, Democrat and Libertarian. I was straight edge and a junkie. Alcoholic.
This is why I can log into Facebook, scroll through the Newsfeed and see posts for gun control next to "I love guns"...posts of Bible scriptures next to atheist memes...pro-Obama followed by anti-Obama. I know where each of my friends are coming from with their posts, regardless whether I agree with them or not.
Believe me though...I daily will read or hear something from a person that makes me go, "You are a fucking idiot. Suck a tailpipe." That's the easy reaction. I want to go the hard route and step back...see why someone thinks that. Converse rather than argue. Talk to them without the ego as it's not about winning or losing...it's about making a connection. If it doesn't happen, move on. End the discussion and go mess around with the damn phone. Not everyone is an idiot...they just walked a different path in life than we have.
Some are just really misinformed and brain-damaged, though. But hey, haven't we all been at one time or another?