Posted on | June 16, 2016 | 1 Comment
“You’re an idiot.”
“I hope one day you learn how to use your brain.”
“What is the MATTER with you people?”
“I hope they die in a fire.”
“This country is in a sad state of affairs when this person is a candidate for President.”
“A bunch of liberal morons.”
The quotations above all come from a variety of different Facebook posts and comments written by a variety of people… some I know, some I don’t. I’ve collected them over the past few days and weeks because I think they’re important. With the exception of a few, I can promise you that you can not determine with any accuracy which political party the speaker is talking about, or which presidential candidate’s supporters the speaker is talking to. Know why you can’t determine that? Because we are all saying the same things about each other.
Let that sink in for a minute.
You aren’t the only person thinking your neighbor is stupid.
They think you’re pretty stupid, too.
And to me, that was a pretty important realization. Because if the people I think are stupid are also thinking I am stupid, then either both of us are right, or both of us are wrong.
I’ve determined, hopefully, that both of us are wrong. Or on some days, that we’re both right.
See, I have a lot of dear friends who think about politics differently than I do. I have a lot of acquaintances who think about politics differently than me. And I’ll be the first to admit, that when several of those friends and acquaintances started sharing their support for a candidate I didn’t approve of, or their disdain for one I love, my knee jerk reaction was to say “What an idiot,” and dismiss them and their opinions.
Surely they are under educated. Clearly they are blinded by something. Obviously they are complete morons.
And then I took the time to read the posts on their page and the comments they made on other posts. And I realized they were and are saying the exact same thing about me. They believe that I am blinded, that I am an idiot, that I have no clue about what it takes to be President of this nation right now.
What that says to me is this… We have all stopped talking to each other and resorted to talking at each other. We’ve stopped listening and started yelling with our fingers in our ears. We are all, every single one of us, guilty of keeping up this ugly, ugly cycle of blame and inaction. We are all to blame for the continued divide in this country. Because until we stop calling each other idiots, and LISTEN to each other, ask each other what it is about a candidate that garners support… NOT what is it about the other candidates that doesn’t… then we can’t expect our politicians to work together. Why would they? Their voters aren’t working together. Their constituents are embracing the divide, creating the drama, making real the concept that there is no way a Republican and a Democrat and an Independent can ever work together in this world.
Except, listen to me carefully here… I’m living proof that there IS a way.
Because here’s the real deal: I’ve been called a bleeding heart liberal MANY times in my life. And I am married to a Republican. Some people can’t process that concept, but you know what? We agree on a ton of things. Do we always agree on politics or politicians? Nope … sometimes, but not always. But we do agree that deep down, people are good… they just need to be reminded. We agree that nothing in the world is better than hearing a child’s belly laugh. We agree that killing people is stupid, that homosexual rights are no different than heterosexual rights, that all the news is biased because PEOPLE are biased, that this election cycle is awful, and that at the end of the day nothing is better than watching sports while having a beer with friends. We agree on what matter most… we love each other. No matter what.
It’s easy to say that the other side is stupid.
It’s easy to say that anyone who supports ______ is an idiot.
It’s so freaking easy to wash your hands of friends who support this or that person or idea.
But don’t take the easy way out, America, don’t do it. The fact is that there will always be people who disagree with you on how to govern this country. Always.
The trick is to find a middle ground.
And if WE can’t do that as voters? Then we can’t expect our representatives to find a way, either.
I know it’s hard. I know that the rhetoric and shaming and hate is strong and to spend time around it may make your skin crawl. I know that it’s easier to shut the door, pull down the blinds, and hold on to the people around you who think and feel the same way.
It’s really easy to condemn each other in this political climate.
It is so much harder to love each other, even through our glaring differences.
Oh, but try… try to choose love, even in the midst of this madness. Choose to meet each other in the spaces we currently hold, even if we don’t understand those spaces, even when we are afraid of those places. Until we understand what brought us to the places we hold, we can not understand how to change them.
Don’t condemn… love.
Be the change… hold on to the hope and belief that this whole country, Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green Party, Independent, and Abstainers, will one find its way back to a place where we can love and respect each other…
Not in spite of our differences, but because of them.