An Open Mind and Ideological Shades of Gray

By , Columnist

If it wasn't clear before that you can't please 100% of the people 100% of the time, the latest round of criticism aimed at Barack Obama illustrates the point perfectly.

In the wake of New York's legalization of gay marriage, President Obama is taking heat for not being supportive enough of gay marriage. While I think the motive behind his "my views are evolving" political correctness is good -- perhaps reconciling his own views with what might be best for the country -- when compared with other Democratic leaders, like Gov. Andrew Cuomo whose fiery rally pushed through the Republican Senate at Albany, the president's noncommittal approach to the controversial political issue looks especially lackluster. However, if he were to specifically come out against gay marriage, he'd have a blue target on his back; should he come out unequivocally for it, the target would be red.

The thing is, despite not being under a public microscope 24/7 like a political leader, your life and the president's will share one specific characteristic: neither of you is ever going to be exactly who everyone wants to you be. Polarization has unfortunately become the order of the day, in politics and any number of other realms, to the point where even moderation is seen as weakness and opposition.

But whether or not it ruffles feathers, don't be afraid to eschew choosing between black and white and instead recognize that there are shades of gray in the world. Having views that aren't bound by a specific ideology can be frightening. Feeling that someone is only pretending to endorse a perspective you believe in with your whole heart can be infuriating. But the key to approaching life in this wide and many-faceted world is to fight to keep your mind open, as the thing that most endangers progress and forward motion is a closed, prejudiced mind.

So even if you have to fake belief until you feel it, or simply grin and bear the differences that surround you, the point is that you're trying, and that's what really counts.

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Emmie Scott is an English major-turned-marketing exec, with a passion for writing, humor, sharing knowledge, and "pink drinks." After hours, she started Are Toe Rings Professional Attire?, a blog for college grads and twenty-somethings looking to find their way through that daunting labyrinth called…

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