That title is a mouthful. Basically, I’m discouraged. We are a nation divided. We are a humanity divided. In some cases, we are a family divided or a marriage divided. There is a lot of “us” and “them” going on. I’ve never taken a political science class and I can barely keep up with what’s going on, but I know I’m tired of the fighting, the name calling and the growing gap between us.
Here are ten things that would be helpful during this time of great division.
1. When you are inclined to speak, write or post about a topic that will cause conflict (the shut down, our government, our President, etc.), be sure that you have done your homework and know what’s true and what’s opinion.
2. Do not treat opinions as though they are facts (and vice versa, I suppose).
3. Verify the things you “share” or “forward” with snopes.com or hoax-slayer.com. Please.
4. Those hi-larious graphics that malign the “other guys?” Only hi-larious to the people who think just like you do. Very rarely is one actually helpful in creating good conversation.
5. Choose your media sources carefully. If everyone behind the desk probably votes the same way you do, there might be some bias in play. Listening to other viewpoints doesn’t have to make you change your mind, but sometimes it’s helpful to hear a different “spin.”
6. It’s okay to be friends, to respect and even to sometimes agree with people who think differently and vote differently than you do.
7. Name calling really has no place in civilized society.
8. Personal attacks are not a good way to prove a point. Ad hominem, you guys! What would your elementary school English teachers say?
9. Remember that our two party political system provides a type of check and balance, but also provides for “winning” and “losing.” I know, I know, you want everyone to get a trophy, but the fact of the matter is that we vote or they vote and majority (or some formula of majority) rules.
10. Please consider that there is more to life than politics, elections and our government. These things are important and it’s okay to be passionate about these things, but we are all God’s children–red, blue, purple or green. You get me?
In short, rather than saying or doing things that only serve to widen the gap between us all, maybe we could do things that foster conversation and a chance to find places we might be able to stand together.
Am I just being an idealist as usual? Are we doomed as a nation, or will this get better?