Ego should not trump facts when talking politics

Staff Editorial

Divisiveness and polarization have grabbed this country by the you-know-what. There is no middle ground, no chill and no standard. Everyone hates half the country. The west is out of touch with the south, the south is out of touch with the east and the east is out of touch with the north. Under no
circumstances should disagreement over sociopolitical issues make one group of people want to spray pep-
per spray into another group’s eyes or drive them over with a vehicle.

This country that we all have the pleasure of living in is inextricably linked to the ideals of embracing our differences—religious, social, political and otherwise. It is quite saddening to see this very same country be torn apart by these differences.

But why do we allow ourselves to become victims to such a depressing fate? No one is forcing us to act and
think this way. No one is forcing us to hate our neighbors because their political affiliation differs from our own. No one is forcing us to write off half of the population as ignorant, uneducated or misinformed.

Kicking those who don’t agree with us to the curb and refusing to acknowledge that there are other sides to the story is a dangerous game to play. Doing so only perpetuates the intolerable issue of poor  communication between opposing sides in this country and will inflict nothing but more damage in the long run.

Not only should differing views and opinions be encouraged, they are vital to the survival of our country. If our overarching goal is progress, then looking at an issue through a single lens and refusing to acknowledge the existence of other ideas and policies is both counterintuitive and ineffective.

But embracing our differing views is only the first step. With differing views comes paramount importance the need for civil, educated discourse surrounding those disagreed-upon views. To be educated and have quality ideas is one thing, but to effectively and eloquently communicate those ideas is another.

This is where you come in, and the entire country is depending on you to do your part. It all starts with the amount of effort that you are willing to put in to educate and inform yourself. Read the news from sources with different stances on certain issues, talk with people who disagree with you and be willing to accept that your beliefs may change as a result of these conversations.

This is no longer about being a Republican or a Democrat; this is about being a part of the solution or a part of the problem.

Above all, keep an open mind. An open mind is one willing to listen, to see where others are coming from and then form an appropriate response either in agreement or in opposition. Whether or not you like what someone else has to say, you must acknowledge their 1st Amendment rights that allow them to say what they do, just as they must support your 1st Amendment rights to disagree with their point of view.

The time has come to swallow our pride and make a decision for the betterment of the entire country. It’s time to leave our political preferences, our biases and our preconceived notions at the door for good. Just as we made these conscious decisions to push away those who differ from us, it is now time to make the conscious decision to once again embrace our differences and come together as a strong and unified nation.

This is no longer about being a Republican or a Democrat; this is about being a part of the solution or a part of the problem. Do yourself and everyone else a favor: forget your political affiliation, sit down and discuss the issues in an educated and civil manner. It only takes one conversation to bring about an infinite amount of positive change. The sort of change that this country needs. The sort of change that will make America great.