It’s fair to say that political parties hate their opposite. Liberals think conservatives are mean and stupid. Conservatives think liberals are spineless and stupid. Both sides can’t be right, and in fact I think both sides are wrong.
Politics are broken in some way. You only need to have the misfortune to wander into the comments section of any politics-related website to see what I mean. I have read comments suggesting that President Obama is an agent of Al-Qaeda, and that he is a homosexual and his wife is actually a transgender man. When it was President Bush, there were equally as many comments from the other side suggesting such things as him having been personally responsible for 9/11 and that he only had a grade school education. People from one side will excuse “their” guy from something they were crucifying the other guy for in the previous election.
On any one article you can scroll for pages and pages, with each side shouting their message at the other, and nothing happening except each side becoming more firmly convinced they are right and that the other side are wrong, and in addition are idiots.
It breaks my heart to see this happening. How can two people truly work for the good of their country if they fundamentally disagree on what that good is, and on top of that think the other person is actively working against their country?
Roughly 40% of America is Republican. Roughly 40% of America is Democratic. (source) To liberals and conservatives both: surely 130 million on the other side who disagree with you are not simply stupid. At least some of them must have thought long and hard about their beliefs and come to a reasoned conclusion. And some on your side have done that too. So why have you arrived at different places, after careful thought?
Every idea a person has exists for a reason. We do not come out of the womb with our beliefs already inside us. They’re based on many things, such as experiences we’ve had, our education, books we’ve read and people we’ve known. Think of someone you disagree with. Now try to think of why they think that. Ask yourself if you wouldn’t think the same as them if you’d been through the same things.
I don’t actually know how to get past this. I’ve tried. Still, when I hear someone say that the right solution to the war in Iraq would have been to drop nuclear bombs on Baghdad, I can’t help but wonder how that person and me could ever come to an agreement on the subject, standing so far apart as we do. And perhaps they think the same of me when I disagree. And yet, there must be a way. We are all human, made of flesh and filled with blood.
How can we work towards understanding each other? I know that it can’t come from a place of hate. It can’t be done with insults. My liberal friends on Facebook mock conservative presidential candidates. My conservative friends mock liberal candidates. Nobody praises the other side for anything, ever. Nothing can be healed that way, if you only look for the bad and ignore the good. We’re so concerned with scoring points against the other side that we’ve forgotten we’re all on the same side.
We must realize that at our cores, we all have the same basic desires. We all want what’s best for our country. We all want happiness, for ourselves and for our children. We want peace, we want security. (Additionally, I want spaghetti.) We want to be liked, to be appreciated, to be comfortable. I have desires. Like Chappie, I have fears. (Let me just interrupt myself briefly to say that Chappie is one of my favorite movies ever. I don’t have the space to explain why, though; maybe next time.)
If we can realize these things about those we disagree with, maybe we can take further steps to realize that their views are also legitimate, that they hold them for a reason, and we can try to understand instead of shouting.