Category Archives: One un Civil War Was Enough
Contempt is looking at people like they are side dishes we didn’t order. Our current division as Americans is going to undermine not only whomever wins the next election, but probably anyone winning many future elections. Trump just brought to light the depth of the fundamental differences in people. If we don’t find a way to actually communicate sanely across those, we are going to self-destruct as a nation. The basic differences are still the same as in our un-Civil War. I have found that many reasonable, kind, college educated family and friends who voted for Trump simply don’t believe what they hear and read opposing him. Even those that do, still are basically Republican. To me our conflicts are rooted in inborn personality differences. When I really tried to communicate with people I love across our differences, I began to understand why they think the way they do, I don’t necessarily agree, but I understand. Both liberals and conservatives, who don’t accept that we have to compromise to find a way to any shared acceptable vision of justice, are trapped in an illusion that their ideals are obtainable in a democracy of diverse people in close to equal numbers. Trump should be our wake-up call. And more than anything contempt simply shuts people’s minds and blocks any hope for compromise. I think all of us on both sides are filled with the hubris of contempt these days. Our conviction that we know the truth, all the truth, and nothing but the truth is actually claiming to be God. It is sheer hubris. This is an imperfect world with imperfect people, who only by facing that reality can together inch toward creating a better, though still imperfect, world.
It’s a conundrum: Here are some controversial issues from the views of both conservatives and liberals. How do we love the people we consider unloving because they fear floods of immigrants? How do we love people who want the freedom for women to kill a potential child even possibly as a convenience? How do we love people who want to deny medical treatment to the old and send the middle class into poverty from the cost of staying alive? How can we love people who we believe are going against nature and the bible? How can we love people who don’t see the danger in giant corporations owning those that govern us. How do we love someone that wants security for all, more than freedom from control by government. In a democracy we have a voice and a vote. When it has become a voice of hate on both sides, how do we love? How do we heal so we can once again become Americans, not Democrats or Republicans, not Capitalists or Socialists, not conservative Christians or Liberal Christians, no matter who wins the vote? How do we love what we don’t try to understand on either side? What happens if we continue to grow in our hatred of one another? What will a country of growing violence, with or with out automatic rifles, be like for our children and grandchildren? Who is willing to become a reasonable voice crying in the wilderness of antipathy, disgust, suspicion, distrust, self righteousness, fear, and hate? What good will winning do anyone if we dig our trenches at the extreme opposites, forcing moderates into the camps of extremists until we are hopelessly divided as much as enemies in wars?
No one is winning anymore. We have lost our way as a nation.
Bloggers, if you agree please write a similar post on your site or re-blog this. And ask others to do the same. We who want moderation and kindness need to speak out.
Today we celebrate the birth of our nation with the signing of the Declaration of Independence. When a group of people decided that only the people should have control over the government. That we were born with certain inalienable rights that no ruling body could revoke.
The men who wrote and signed this document were not perfect by any means. Some were slave owners and believed in slavery. Some were known philanderers. Some proved themselves to be untrustworthy. Many felt that women had no right to participate in the running of our country.
The men who wrote and signed this document did not get along. Later many of them would become the bitterest of political rivals striving to undermine the progress and beliefs of the other at every turn.
But they had a shared vision of a country where the people would rule themselves without fear of being persecuted for differing beliefs and ideas.
Today as we become what seems ever more divided in our beliefs, it gets hard to agree on much. That’s perfectly fine. Our system is built so that people can express their views equally and choose for themselves whom they want to represent them and their values. Democracy is messy. Two party systems are messy. But it’s that very friction of disparate views that allows for us to build a country that embraces freedom for everyone at its very core.
So today, let’s try to embrace that idea. Let’s take a break from the mean spirited memes. Let’s take a break from the bait click headlines. Let’s remember that all those people we may think of as “libtards” or “right wing nut jobs” are Americans. Our neighbors. Our friends. Our family.
Instead of unfriending or unfollowing that Facebook friend with the different political view as you, wish them a “Happy 4th of July” and tell them that you love them. Remember that they are a person just like you just trying to make it through the day as best they can. They are not evil. They are not “ruining the country”. They just want to be happy and healthy and live a good life. Just like you.
Look at that person. A person you love. A person you want to see succeed even though they have diametrically opposing views as yours. Think about how you would never get in their face and curse them. You would not ever physically assault them. You would not disparage them in front of their friends and family.
Then remember that most people in the opposing political party from you are just like that. They are a person. They have friends and family who love them. They are just trying to do what they think is right. Everyone is the hero in their own story.
And then maybe. Just maybe. The next time you want to post that mean spirited political meme. Or when you want to post some disparaging comment. Or “like” someone else’s meme of comment. Think about the person on the other side of that. Not the political party. The person.
For my friends with different political and religious views, think about how when you post something against the LBGTQ community you are posting it about MY son. He is a person whom I love dearly. How do you think it makes me feel when I scroll through Facebook in the morning and see that?
How about instead of posting something mean spirited that will most likely hurt someone you love, you reach out and ask for some understanding. Have a conversation. Seek to understand before you try to be understood.
You don’t have to believe what I believe. We don’t have to convince each other that one way is right and one way is wrong. We just need to get at least a little shred of empathy for the opposing person and their idea. Give a little to get a little.
If a bunch of slave owning, misogynist, rebellious white dudes could do it in 1776, why can’t we do that today?
by my youngest son. Share if this speaks to your heart.