Have you ever stopped to have an open heart to heart about politics with someone of the exact opposite political opinion?
Every four years the word ‘politics’ becomes the ultimate trigger word that sparks the rollercoaster of emotional arguments and limitless vented frustration. Up until this point, I’ve slipped through life silently hating the whole premise of political opinion. I’ve never ever seen politics bring out the best in people, regardless of which ‘side’ you are on. However, this election season, as I sent off for my voter’s registration, I thought to myself how wonderfully luck we are to have two such honest, respectful and genuinely down-to-earth people to choose between for our president. As the millennials say, ‘#blessed!’ Sarcasm aside though, this election does have the potential to be a positive thing in our nation because, for the first time in a while, democrats and republicans are widely agreeing on at least one thing, the candidates simply suck.
So here we are, Americans, sitting in our homes, drinking wine, and discussing which candidate we hate least instead of which one we support while the rest of the world sits anxiously bitting their nails until November 8th roles around. (If we take a time out and forget how serious this all is, it’s just a little funny, right? I mean, they could definitely make a comedy movie after it’s all said and done, if we survive.) But in a couple of weeks one of them will be president and life will move on with some change. What’s really frustrating about all this, is the continuous stream of negativity, and the idolization of the vote. Don’t get me wrong, the blood paid for freedom should not and will not be wasted; I absolutely believe in the importance of the citizen’s duty to vote. However, neither of the candidates will make America great. The voting, opinionated American gorging off of the media’s left wing, right wing negative view will not make America great. Therefore, our hope needs to be shifted from our coming political leaders and placed back in us, the people. Our nation was built by the people, for the people, and the last time I checked that’s still the general idea our country’s going for and honest Abe is still considered honest. Your opinion will never change anything but your actions can build something. It just won’t be with your vote. Please! Just hear me out. Keep reading.
Opinion is the result of your values, based on a culmination of who you are intellectually, physically, spiritually, historically, and emotionally. Unlike other topics of a professional or personal nature, political opinions incorporate every area of your being without the possibility of separation. If you stop to think about it, political discussions are just about the most intimate discussions we can have with one another. Have you ever stopped to have an open heart to heart about politics with someone of the exact opposite political opinion? You may be surprised.
Take the issue of abortion for an example. To restate the obvious, republicans are pro-life, and democrats are pro-choice. Now, if you speak with a republican, they may tell you that they are pro-life because a fetus has a heart at about 4 weeks post conception. For them, it is impossible to even consider killing off something that has a human heart, even if it doesn’t resemble a human just quite yet. In response, a democrat may argue that the woman needs to have the right to control her own body and should have this option if she gets put in the difficult situation of an unwanted pregnancy. The argument could continue on this level endlessly. What is under this belief though? What’s on the personal level? Did the republican have a miscarriage after trying so hard to get pregnant? Did the democrat have to drop out of school, after being raped, to have the baby? Not everyone has a story this drastic, but then again, not everyone doesn’t. I’m sure you’ve probably heard these hypothetical situations before in argument but have you ever heard them personally? The same depth can be related to every political topic.
I’m not trying to win you over to a different political opinion. Don’t worry, I’m not that stupid. What I present is the potential for you to tear down the Berlin wall that exists between you and ‘the other side.’ Listening to the opinion of someone else in-depth, without feeling the need to insert your own antidotes, does not diminish your identity found in the values you hold. You don’t have to defend what you believe, because what you believe is what you believe. It’s yours, no one else’s. Our boys lost their lives so that you can have the security of freely expressing your beliefs! So be careful about taking that security away from others by pointing out everywhere they are wrong. Instead, figure out where they are right and meet on that common ground. Or, figure out the reason why they believe something that is so wrong and come to an understanding. There you will find the common humanity between you by admitting that the other’s values can be understood. It won’t be easy at first. It will take a great deal of maturity to reach that level of respectful understanding, a level of maturity that not even our future president has reached, but it CAN be done.
Democrats and republicans can work together on citizen level to make improvements for our future. We have before, and we will again. The reality is we have to cross the great divide that has come between us in order to move forward. A house divided against itself can not stand. But a unified house doesn’t have to agree on every detail as long as it’s being empowered towards a common goal. Cut the negativity. Think positively. The United States can flourish when her people tend to her more than every four years. So go out and vote! Then start thinking about how you can impact your community and politics on a local level. Think about how you can empower democrats. Think about how you can empower republicans. Take charge of cultivating your life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness!
Dear friend, take a big breath and breath out all that worry, anger, and frustration of this election season. I know it’s brought about a lot of headache and heartbreak, but your beautiful America has seen much worse. She’ll survive this as well, but it all starts with you. So take a walk down to ‘the other side’ and have that open heart to heart. America already is great. Her greatness just exists in the people you don’t see on TV.