Y’all. We have to stop this. Our country is so divided right now, on so many levels.
Pick your poison: On virtually any social media platform you’ll find political turmoil--hatred, vicious criticism, rants, calls for imprisonment, torture, death.
People. Come on. This is not who we are. God don’t like ugly, as Grandma used to say.
No matter who you vote for/support/follow, be civil. Agree to disagree.
Take my brother, T-Bob. The only thing we agree on is that Grand Funk Railroad is criminally under-rated. So we share YouTube clips and discuss music and his kids, not politics—well, occasionally in broad strokes, like, “Dude is creepy.” Mostly we leave it alone. Why give each other heartburn?
We learned the art of disagreeing without bitterness at home.
Dad was a foot-washing Baptist, a yellow dog Democrat, a product of the rural Deep South. Mother was a white-glove Episcopalian who was all up in the civil rights movement. In 35 years they never voted for the same candidate. This mashup of beliefs resulted in lively (to say the least) dinner table conversations, where multiple viewpoints were not only allowed, but encouraged.
From the outside looking in, our parents disagreed on all the fundamentals--but they raised four semi-normal kids and were married to the day he died.
It’s possible to find common ground, if you look hard enough. Mom loved to fish; Dad loved to cook and eat fish. See how it works? (They also both loved Johnny Carson.)
Dad was a Mason, she was in Eastern Star. If she wanted a doghouse, barn or fence, he built it. He was skeptical of vacations (“Man was born to work,” he said), so she traveled without him, and nobody got mad.
They wanted a happy family, so they decided to respect each other’s differences. She didn’t want to raise four kids alone, and he thought divorce was an abomination. They both were motivated enough to find ways to compromise.
What’s happening in today’s political climate is nothing new; politics has always been a nasty business. John Adams was widely reviled. Thomas Jefferson impregnated a slave, repeatedly. Andrew Johnson was impeached. Abraham Lincoln endured gossip about his mental health.
Herbert Hoover was blamed for the Depression; Warren Harding presided over one of the most corrupt administrations of the 20th century. Kennedy’s enemies claimed he was in bed with the mob. Some people think Johnson was behind Kennedy’s assassination. Nixon was Kissinger’s puppet. And so on, ad nauseam up to now, when—surprise!—Pelosi is evil incarnate, Trump is a gibbering idiot and Hillary is to blame for everything except the return of high-waisted jeans.
Disagreement doesn’t have to mean ripping someone to shreds from the anonymity of a keyboard. You can actually say “huh,” roll your eyes and keep on scrolling.
Here’s the thing: The angry guy on FB who swears he’ll never vote for anyone besides Trump, and thinks a border wall will solve all our problems and believes transgender people are freaks who shouldn’t be allowed near children—can also be a valued employee and loving father who adopts homeless dogs and donates to St. Jude’s.
Point being, very few of us are all bad or all good. More unites us than divides us, which means it’s on us to find the good in each other.
Let’s change the conversation. Let’s be tolerant. Let’s do what we are all called to do: Love each other.
We can do this.