Let’s Back Off the Ugliness

December 16, 2019

Mike Wilcox
Mike’s Musings Columnist

Can’t we all just get along?

I’ve been a keen watcher of political discourse since I was 10-years-old and NEVER, I mean NEVER, have I experienced such a polarized nation. But beyond the polarization is the positions taken by many from both sides of the aisle that if you don’t take their side, you are somehow a traitor.

I see it on social media all the time. A very conservative friend of mine wrote just yesterday if you don’t stand with President Trump, you need to get off of my Facebook account immediately. I want nothing to do with you socialist Democrats. And then there was the confrontation I had with a socialist liberal who said I’m no friend if I don’t support the ideals of Bernie Sanders.

Personally I try to play it down the middle. I watch a tremendous amount of Cable TV news shows- sometime MSNBC or CNN, and sometimes Fox News, just to get a flavor of what both sides are saying. I believe everyone has a right to their opinion, but I also believe we should agree to disagree.

And with that said, I’m having a hard time understanding where friendships disintegrate over political disagreements. Twenty or thirty years ago, we might have had a disagreement over abortion or immigration, but then pat each other on the back and share a couple of beers.

Today if we disagree, one side is a racist or worse yet a traitor, and the other side is a socialist or commie. There’s no middle ground anymore. You either love Trump or you hate him. A lot of people blame our lack of civility on Trump himself, but if anyone paid attention to the last presidential election the nastiness was a product of both Clinton and Trump. Actually the nastiness has been building for several years.

The issues we face in today’s world are complex. We need our leaders to share some middle ground, to compromise, not polarize, to make decisions based on facts, not emotion. Just as important they need to agree to disagree, with those that might see the issue differently than them. The enemies are Iran, and to a lesser extent China and Russia, not each other.

The same can be said for us common folk. Is your position on immigration or abortion really worth destroying friendships? We must understand that what Donald Trump or John Brennan say or tweet is not treasonous, but simply said or tweeted to make their point.

We can argue politics or issues all day long, but in the end we are all Americans. We all live under the umbrella of the world’s greatest nation. We have fought many wars for the right to say whatever it is we want to say, to believe whatever it is we want to believe.

So let’s get off our high horses and realize there are two sides to every story. Your way is not necessarily the only right way, and once in a while you are going to be wrong. Pay attention to what those that have differing opinions have to say. Just maybe once in a while they might be right.

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