Wednesday, November 03, 2004

My Two Cents

Just something I am pondering. I tend to follow my father's advice that the best way to avoid an argument is to keep your mouth shut about politics, religion and money. But being that everyone else has posted an opinion, here comes mine.

It seems that you can sum up an awful lot of the curent "political discourse" as follows:

If you don't agree with me, then...

According to the Far Right: You're a traitor / coward/ unpatriotic/ terrorist sympathizer/ going to hell for sure.

According to the Far Left: You're a war monger / bigot/ stupid/ duped/ a sheep.

How about, none of the above!

I believe that americans generally are people of good will. I believe that extremism, whichever end of the spectrum it falls on, is divisive, counterproductive, and horrifically uncivil and disrespectful. The extreme wings denigrate anyone who doesn't fall into their little clubs by labelling them dismissively. Geez, people, these are your neighbors. They may disagree with you. Why does that make them worthy of vilification? When we discount everyone who doesn't belong to our little club, we risk alienating the vast majority of more moderate thinkers. We wind up preaching to the choir of the like minded and patting ourselves on the backs for our moral or intellectual superiority, and what it gets us is a country fractured down the middle. And a recipe for stagnation and governmental gridlock.

Both parties need to reach out to the moderates in order to get anywhere, and I really hope that is what they do in the future. Comments about people being unfriended on LJ or de-blogrolled because of their political opinions really bother me. How can you ever hope to understand or change the mind of someone who disagrees with you if you cut the lines of communication? How can this hostility ever get us anywhere? Both sides are equally guilty of it. I just don't understand it.

Just because someone doesn’t agree with you doesn’t make them unpatriotic, morally depraved, cowardly, stupid, duped or evil - just different. And no less American.

Life would be so much more pleasant if people could just agree to disagree and respect those holding different ideas and beliefs. I’m hoping that the future holds far more civility, tolerance and peace for us all.

(Also posted on Live Journal.)