I grew up with the idea that it was OK to disagree, appropriately of course, and that having more than one opinion in the room is often a good thing. It provides a discussion with more than one side, which I feel is always a good thing. Granted, sometimes it can be uncomfortable, but if all parties remain respectful it can also be the best way to wade through a problem, working it from more than one side.
What floors me so much about the political landscape of our country right now is that we are so black and white, right and wrong, us and them. Polarized. It’s ridiculous.
Those who know me know I’m a liberal. I tend to vote Democrat down the line, but the reasons I do this aren’t very popular even to me. I do it because I care, deeply, about my personal rights. I care about social issues very much. It’s not that I don’t care about economic issues, foreign policy, education… I do. Very much actually. It’s just that in the current climate where people who I don’t even know are trying to tell me who I can and can’t marry, which impacts them not at all, I have to stand on the side of me, of my partner, of our life together. I have to stand for my friends, and for millions of people who just want to love who they love and have everyone else stay out of their personal business. But I rant, and this is not really about that at all.
So I vote the way I do based mostly on social issues, but if those weren’t an issue how would I vote? Honestly, probably somewhere in the middle. Probably sometimes for a Republican candidate, or a third party candidate, that I thought was the best person for the job. I’d vote the issue, or the candidate, and not the party. I used to vote that way. I’d love that.
I disagree with extremism. My idea of what this country was founded on is about freedom. Freedom to think, pray, work, live, prosper, and thrive as we each see fit. As we each make our way. There are different ideas about how to get there, but when did we become so polarized? When did we forget that this whole thing was set up so there wouldn’t be just one way to be, one way to think, one party who had all the power. We didn’t want a kingdom, we wanted a free republic that respected the thoughts of ALL of it’s people.
I may disagree with some of the more outlandish and extreme points of view, but I also feel like everyone needs to have a say. I was raised to value all sides. Weren’t you? We’re better together. Better even when we don’t agree with each other. And in fact we are probably stronger because of it. One nation. So let’s get on with it. Let’s get on with the real business of trying to right what’s wrong, expand on what’s right, and move forward together. We are, after all, still living in the greatest country. We are honored, and blessed, to live here. We should remember that.