|Red State - Blue State|
Birds of a feather flock together, right? People are no different. We try to surround ourselves with like-minded people, individuals who have the same values, goals, or interests as us. There's nothing inherintly wrong with that. It makes sense. But very few circles of people, formal or informal, are filled with completely like-minded individuals. There are always odd balls. Those independent ones. The ones who just couldn't ever seem to get with the system. Nevertheless they are there, and they are part of the group, and they form relationship with people.We get to know each other.
Here's the problem. We see headlines, articles, breaking news that all say the President did this, Congress did that, Democrats want to enforce such-and-such, or Republicans want to cut that program over there and we think those people are ruining this country. Is it wrong to disagree with the choices and actions of others? No. But this is what we do. We dehumanize them. Those arrogant liberals won't stop until we're praying to the hammer and sickle. Those nut-job Republicans want to give guns to babies. And suddenly they have become those people. We forget that those people are often our acquaintances, neighbors, friends, co-workers, bosses, subordinates, class mates, team mates, church brothers and sisters, or family members. We forget that they are real, flesh and blood people that we love and care about, and we turn them into this monster in the dark lacking morals and thirsting for blood and money. We forget that they are fellow Americans who breath and have dreams and fears.
It has become so easy to make any claim, accusation, argument, or assumption by written word on the Internet. So many of our debates now occur in forums, chat rooms, Facebook walls, and in the comment sections of news articles and Youtube videos. The invisible enemy remains faceless, devoid of human characteristics, perhaps devoid of a soul as far as we assume. How could someone write that? How could he be so ignorant? Disagreements become heated disagreements, which lead to anger and hate. Political leanings become political positions and we build mental fortresses reinforced by our value system. We convince ourselves that we know who Jesus would have voted for, and we are sure it's the candidate we support, forgetting where his kingdom really lies.
These thoughts, positions, and presumptions take root and form our world views so that when we encounter that friend, co-worker, or sibling who believes differently than us, it is too late. The love that may have influenced us to treat the other person with respect and integrity based on our relationship has been over powered by our hate for that invisible enemy. Oh, you're one of them. I never thought that you....
|Why? (I know why - but it's a rhetorical question).|
I wonder, today, if we saw each other as brothers and sisters instead of blue state Democrats and red state Republicans if we could communicate in a more civil and effective manner, and maybe solve some of the problems that seem to elude us. I know that this isn't a catch-all solution, but it can't make things worse.
What do you think? Do you think it's time to take it down a notch and start treating each other like humans? Or should we turn up the heat in a national game of chicken? Its up to us.