As the old saying goes, “everyone has an opinion, and most of them stink.” Starbucks released a cup that was meant to be inclusive of many different peoples, and as a result a vocal minority whipped themselves into a frenzy because they felt “left out.”
There were calls for boycotts, and people used this innocuous decision to cry foul for a much larger sentiment that was tangentially related — but of little to no value to the greater good. The sentiment was simply, “Our holiday is more important than any other, and should be treated as such.”
Soon afterward, terrorism struck again on a massive scale, and these feelings of anger were replaced quickly by fear — but also by a much more valuable and beneficial wave of peace, love and inclusion. It’s about time. We all should simply be getting along, despite our differences in beliefs, dress, background or anything else.
This article is posting the day before Thanksgiving in the U.S. This is a day when most Americans spend time with their families, eat a hearty feast, watch football on TV and give thanks for what they have. Some people have more than others, but everyone has something to be thankful about.
This year is a chance for us to be thankful that we aren’t still arguing over a little red cup. Starbucks was caught up in a temporary whirlwind, but it didn’t affect the company’s business. People still bought their coffee and tea — which lends credence to the fact that the arguments over that cup were inconsequential.
What you believe is what you believe, and no coffee chain can take that away. If your beliefs are strong, they will not be damaged by what other people think. This is the root of confidence and comfort that could lead everyone to get along.
Of course for everyone to simply get along requires an increase in mutual respect. We have to learn to better respect the beliefs of others. Know that just because someone believes in something different than you, they are no better or less a person than you.
Diversity is what creates sharing, and sharing creates knowledge, and knowledge breeds an all-together-better global environment. I know this sounds very cheery and new age-y, but it’s true.
After the Paris attacks I saw an interview with a man who was in the Bataclan that night. His message was that he wants to engage people with smiles and love going forward — because you never know when things could change for the worse.
After 9/11, I wrote a column in this very Spin that stated you should attempt to leave every interaction with another person slightly better than it was before you spoke with them. That could simply mean you leave them with a smile.
Arguing over little red cups is pointless. Arguing over what you believe vs. what someone else believes is pointless. We should be reallocating all that energy to building mutual respect, maybe even some measure of understanding.
Most simply: Leave every interaction with a smile. Maybe then, things will get better. I know that’s the future I want my two boys to see — and I’m sure you feel similarly.
So on this Thanksgiving I say thank you for reading this column every week, and thank you for being you.