“I don’t have to agree with you to like you or respect you.”
“A lot of lip service gets paid to being honest, but no one really wants to hear it unless what’s being said is the party line.”
― Colin Quinn
Disagreement is something normal.
I vowed that when I started this blog that I would not discuss politics. By virtue of the fact that this is an election year, the discussions about who will be the next president have already begun. With the start of the silly season comes much discussion, debate and arguing. Unfortunately but predictably, the discourse has already turned ugly on both sides and it promises to only get worse as each side regurgitates its own set of talking points.
It is also unfortunate that I am not just talking about the candidates, I am talking about the everyday person. Yes, you and I. Your family, friends, co-workers and strangers are already robustly letting each other know what they think about each of the candidates on both the left and the right and it isn’t pretty.
Why then am I writing about politics? I am writing about it because I want to make a plea to everyone out there today. If you are on the far left, the far right, a moderate, progressive or whatever you choose to call yourself, please read the following and join me in an attempt to make it through November without losing family or friends based on the ugly and often untrue statements or comments that are made during “friendly conversations.” Ok. With all of that said, here we go…
One of the greatest gifts we have is being able to live in a democracy and having the ability to speak our minds about where we stand on the political spectrum. In the years that we elect a new president, it seems that many more people seem to care about politics than in the off years. As spring turns to summer and summer into fall, the attempt to have our positions heard rises to disturbing levels.
With that discussion, of course, comes disagreement. Now don’t get me wrong, disagreement is a good thing as long as it is reasonable and intellectually honest. As noted above, the Dalai Lama says that “disagreement is something normal.” Let me give you some examples.
As you may or may not know, I tend to lean to the right when it comes to fiscal and military issues and to the left in regards to social issues. I like to think that I am more independent than anything else. Each and every time, however, that I express dissatisfaction with something that President Obama has said or done, it is always insinuated that I am a racist. If I don’t support Hillary, I am then sexist. Could it be possible that I just don’t agree with you?
Sorry folks. Making fun of people (candidates and those you are debating with) and calling them a racist, sexist, homophobe, islamophobe etc. does not make you right, it instead shows your ignorance. You need to support your arguments with facts and not the usual race to blame everything on, well, race or sex. Falling prey to the name calling and the labeling makes you intellectually dishonest, thereby taking you out of the discussion.
I am making a plea today for everyone reading this not to take the easy way out during this election cycle. Assume that you know and will meet people that have opinions that differ from yours. Let that other person be the one that makes the leap immediately to the negative. When you choose to share the lies and negative nasty comments that you find on social media about any of the candidates, you make the choice to be part of the problem, and not the solution. You also show that your ability to to engage in a rational and productive political discussion is non existent.
Since this blog is shared on facebook, I am hoping that those of you who are reading this take what I have written to heart and join me in keeping this political cycle a decent and productive one. Electing a president of the United States is, in my opinion, is one of the most important things we can do as a citizen. Let’s not turn into savages as we do it, whichever side you are on.