Disagreements are an everyday part of life. On an international campus such as this one, many people coming from many different places have very distinct opinions and views. Often times, such conversations become political in nature if not overtly so from the beginning. No mater how heated the debate gets be sure to keep one thing in mind; no one fights for evil.
To some this seems obvious, to others it seems counter intuitive. Some people do what they consider to be wrong, but they do it to further a right or justified cause. People do not do bad things for bad purposes. It may seem that way to you, but it is the relative perspective you must consider.
By no means does this defend actions or positions taken by fringe groups, or even some mainstream groups, but it should be helpful in understanding perspectives.
Take an abortion clinic bomber for example. The person does not blow up abortion clinics for fun. Nor do they do it because they are bored and think it is a good way to occupy themselves. They blow up a building, and act that in any other context they themselves would consider wrong, to further what is a just cause in their opinion. They believe abortion is murder and must be stopped at all costs. Thus the evil actions furthers a just and righteous cause.
To those that believe abortion should remain legal, the bombers actions seem evil. To them, his actions are not furthering a noble cause, it is bringing unnecessary and unwarranted destruction down upon people who are doing something they should be aloud to do. Keep in mind that to the bomber, every time that clinic performs an abortion they are committing an act of abomination. It is all in the perspective, and as such, is relative. This is not to be confused with moral relativity, but that is an entirely different topic.
The examples are endless and need not be gone into. Understand that in most debates you and your opponent have the same goals. What differs is the way in which you both think those goals should be achieved.
One final example to illustrate this point is look at the war on terror. Almost universally, people believe that terrorism against civilians must be stopped. The way in which they are stopped however, is a point of great controversy. Some think the best way to stop it is to attack the sources of funds and the strongholds of the terrorists. Others think that negotiation is the only way we can ever hope to be rid of the terrorists. Both want the same goal, but both have different ideas of the best way to go about achieving it.
Remember this the next time a lively debate heads toward getting personal or worse, violent. There is no need for such escalation. Most of the time you are both on the same side, you just don’t know it.