I Know You Just Said Climate Change is Fake, But Let's Have a Beer

Take a classroom full of like-minded, friendly, mature college students and give them a topic to debate. Make it a heavy topic that really draws a line between either side of the room, such as abortion, gay rights, immigration policies... the list goes on. You’ll notice that what happens next, almost infallibly, is that any form of relationship or common ground these students had with each other goes out the window and they are instantly at each other’s throats. This tendency for people to drop what unites and bonds them for the sake of defending their opinion occurred to me as I was sitting in my philosophy class one Thursday night. I watched the mood of the room instantly switch from a relaxed and friendly vibe to tense and hostile when the professor introduced a debate. I literally watched a metaphorical line being drawn in the middle of the room with every word thrown at each other, and it made me think about humanity. My philosophy classroom was just a small scale model of society as a whole, how quick man is to turn his back to his neighbor when they disagree.

What if, instead of taking a group of people who already know each other and are willing to destroy a bond, you started with two people that have never met? On purpose, you match together two people that have extremely differing opinions on a matter close to both of their hearts. You have them sit down and get to know each other, and then expose these differing opinions once the bond has already been formed. That is exactly what Heineken did with their latest ad. The results brought viewers to tears.

After an icebreaker project and 10 minute Q&A where the two strangers got to know each other on a personal level, they watched a video together of each other openly discussing their strong and unshakable opinions on highly controversial topics. The screen went black and a voice told them they now had an option to sit down and have a beer to discuss their differences, or leave the room.

“I’ve been brought up in a way where every thing is black and white, but life isn’t black and white,” one man said. “Yeah, I’m just me,” replied the transgender woman sitting across from him.

Just hours prior to meeting this woman, he had said that changing your gender simply isn’t right, if you’re a man you should be a man. This video showed that something as simple as sharing a beer to discuss a difference in opinion could make the world a better place. Conversation, engagement, understanding and love are what keep differences from drawing a line between the world. Understanding that we have something to learn from every single person we meet, instead of something to teach, is key.

This ad touched viewers so deeply because we all have within us a possibility of love for each other. What breaks this love is difference. We are brought up to believe that we should protect our egos and opinions above all else, and that anybody different from ourselves is wrong. What man needs to realize is that we are all one in the same. Each of us is united by at least one thing, and we could all love each other if we spent a day in one another’s shoes. Put an activist in the same room as the exact type of person they are marching against without knowing their beliefs and I guarantee you they will form a bond and understanding in some way or another.

“Smash the patriarchy,” laughed the meninist to his new feminist friend as they clinked Heinekens.