Letter: Personal responsibility to try
This or that, right or wrong, black or white, all or nothing, these are the ways of thinking that got us where we are today. As Thanksgiving approaches and people are still reeling from the last month, the bitter truth of the unsustainable friction in our society is clear — families, friendships and frankly, our decency are literally calving into pieces over political standpoints and seemingly massive differences in value systems.
We are empowered by what we think is explicitly right. The name calling is rampant. The ___ists and ___isms take over conversations. We talk to people who share our beliefs about the “others,” like they are all exactly the same, like we can dump everyone we don’t agree with into a box and label it in permanent marker.
We get by in our own echo chambers, diving face first into the shallow, polarizing information of our own political circles. We tend to justify our intolerance towards “others” by tuning out their opinions completely, making us even more ripe for division.
Remember, we all live in the grey area. We are not defined solely by our political party, pro something or anti another thing. If we understand this innately, maybe we can start to talk to one another like human beings, consume information not from “our side” and remember hypocrisy is pervasive across the entire spectrum.
Let’s take some individual initiative to learn how to live, communicate, participate and govern in a way that is not functioning on the fumes of “this or that” thinking, because the chasm is making it hard to get s— done on any level, familial to federal.
I’ve vowed, as I hope you will too, to get off my moral high horse and figure out how to somehow say, “We may not see the world the same at all, but I am going to find a way to understand and respect you.” Sounds idealistic right? Wrong, it starts with personal responsibility to do less hiding behind keyboards and smartphones — guilty as charged — and lashing out out of a desire to be “right,” and more talking to each other with the goal of simply listening respectfully and responding as such, even on the wretched internet. We are getting absolutely nowhere doing otherwise, and we all know it.
If you are so set in your ways that this challenge to change seems impossible or even infuriating, just realize you are, as I was, the problem. It’s OK to try to do better.
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