Be Brave, Step Out, and Visit Your Neighbor
Posted by politicalpartypooper on February 19, 2010
The culture war is on. Apparently, liberals are evil, and only Conservatives are good. This I have gathered from some acquaintances at a talk radio blog. I know, it’s hard to believe that such a simplistic worldview exists today. It’s part of the reason why politics in America are so starkly divided. Congratulations Republicans and Democrats; you’ve finally managed to build the great divide. Looks like it’s time for the grownups, the Independents, to step in and take over, before the two of you press the button.
In a nation filled with so much division, we can never reach our highest goals, unless we meet somewhere in the middle and salve our differences. The best place to start is to find that middle ground; the place where all of us agree. I realize that the two parties would tell you such a place does not exist, but trust me, it does, and you need to ignore the loud noises from the fringes for the moment.
So where do Americans agree? The first place to start is on the personal level. All of us agree that families are important, that children are our future, and that we are all just trying to make our lives a little bit better. This is a huge swath of ground; there is plenty of room for discussion. Let’s hope we can get beyond the tired, stupid, “Liberals are evil” and “Conservatives are evil” rhetoric. I don’t know about you, but I graduated from such a simpleton’s view long before I graduated from High School. If you are one of those who has to have it all your way…well, good luck with that. I think you will find that EVERY American is standing in your way. Get over it, and get over yourself, before you get run over.
America needs brave people willing to meet and engage with other people who disagree with them. Staying with the herd will accomplish nothing. But we need to find some way to keep these engagements civil, so that they do not break down into name-calling, trash-talking contests. Anyone can stay within his own pack, point his finger at his opponents and ridicule them. That is the coward’s way. It also gets nothing accomplished. But if you are tired and angry about the politics of our nation, then be brave, and begin engaging civilly with those who disagree with you.
Believe me, it’s hard. I’ve been called all sorts of names, because when you start engaging civilly, people who disagree with you do not know any other way to respond, so they respond through their fears. But if you give it time (lots of time) and do not often give in to your hurt feelings and lash out at them, you will make progress. I have made the mistake at times of not being civil, and every time I am that way, it sets me back. But I do not give up easily, and to me, the Union of America is too important to quit on. No matter how hard the two parties work at dividing us, I will not give up finding places where we all agree.
Listen, no one is wholly evil, and no one is wholly good. Start there, and while you are at it, just take a moment to think about the fact that your “opponent” has the same internal conversation going on as you, often has the same thoughts, the same fears and the same dreams. In short, he is human, too. A little bit of empathy can go a long way. But, do you know what goes nowhere?
Staying only in a group of people who agree with you. It’s time to be brave, step out, and visit your neighbors.