Politics is a touchy subject…especially in the months leading up to a presidential election…and more than ever when the country is as explosively divided as ours seems to be right now.
I make it a point to avoid political debates with family and friends. Actually, I don’t care to discuss politics with casual acquaintances or strangers either. Edgy discourse makes me uncomfortable. Facebook is so inundated lately with political slogans, cartoons, and rhetoric that I find myself unable to look at posts for longer than a few minutes before the palpable tension causes me to turn off the computer and go do some deep breathing...
The news programs on TV and the radio are equally distressing because, depending on whose “talking points” we’re listening to, they're slanted either wildly to the left or wildly to the right. But we all know that the truth lies somewhere in the middle. We're just not always sure where.
They talk on and on about polls and surveys…their guy is winning…their platforms are the most popular…but how can one be winning on this channel, while the other is winning on another? Could it be WHO is being polled? Is there a valid defense for the time and money being spent by both sides on polling mostly like-minded people? Do they think we can't figure that one out?
I must admit I'm not really that well-versed in politics. But it seems to me that most of us see ourselves, our country, and the world from a very “black and white” perspective. And I’m NOT talking about race. I’m referring to the polarizing opinions and personal experiences that bleed into our vision of the world and blind us to the visions of others.
ALL wealthy people are selfish, hoarding, "fat cats" out to crush the “little people.”
ALL poor people, or people on welfare, unemployment and food stamps are lazy, "milking the system," and just don’t want to work.
ALL Christians are hypocrites. Or ALL non-Christians are going to hell.
ALL women who have abortions are evil, baby-killing monsters. Or ALL pro-lifers think that a woman who is raped can only get pregnant if the rape is "legitimate."
ALL people who DON’T have health insurance DON’T have it because they don't WANT to pay for it.
ALL white people, people of color, immigrants, women, men, gays, liberals, conservatives, etc. are _______________. (fill in the blank)
My point? ALL is an erroneous word when we’re talking about a country as large and diverse as the United States of America. And ALL is a dangerous word when we're speaking of the truth...as we see it. Because "We The People" don't always see eye to eye when it comes to the truth.
So what is the answer? No clue. I wish I knew how to close the gash that divides our nation, but sadly, I do not. I know what I'm trying to do. And it’s not always easy.
First and foremost, I’m trying to avoid using the word ALL when referring to any person, group of people or segment of the population. And I’m making a real effort to understand where each and every individual is coming from…how their personal experiences have affected them…how their fears, needs, hopes, dreams, disappointments, successes, failures, etc. have shaped them. Not “how dare they feel this way,” but rather “what happened to them in their lives to cause them to feel that way.” Maybe their causes are noble and/or justified…maybe they’re not. But it’s not up to me to pass judgment on them.
I feel that it is important to “love your neighbor as yourself.“ People who have more than enough should help the ones in need, not because the government is forcing them to, but because it's the right thing to do. WWJD? Well, I know what He would NOT do. He would not say, "it's not my problem."
And everyone who is physically and mentally capable of working should make every effort to do so. No more taking advantage of a system intended to provide assistance to those who are truly in need. A healthy body and a good mind are gifts. They are not to be wasted.
I feel that it is important to acknowledge and respect the viewpoints of others. Everyone has their reasons, whether you understand them or not, and whether you agree with them or not. Naive and oversimplified? Perhaps. But what do you have to lose?
And, regarding politics, I feel that it is important to give substance to our voices by voting. It is our right…it is our privilege…and it is our responsibility.
All I ask, is for your voice to come from a place of respect and love. Because "We The People" are in this together.
Love, Love, Love