This is the last election related post I’ll make this year.
I think both sides of the political spectrum have done a spectacular job at insulating themselves from hearing countervailing views and arguments. Regardless of your party affiliation, you have media outlets you can listen to, where you never have to hear a word of what the other side believes, at least not without a ton of spin and demonization. Each side magnifies the silliness and extremity of the “other” to the point where it sounds like an argument on an elementary school playground, with lots of “poopyheads” and other farcical insults being exchanged. This does nothing to make sure the business of government gets accomplished, or even allows many people to feel “safe” in expressing their views, for fear of being drowned out, yelled at, or called names ranging from stupid, to ignorant, to much worse.
As a parent might say to a child, Enough Already. You’re Done.
Both sides would do well to have campaign events that aren’t already filled with partisans, but represent the electorate. By pre-screening all crowds, you get your ideas validated by people who have already bought what you’re selling, never really getting the ears and hearts and minds of folks who could still be convinced, or need to hear directly from you what you stand for. Instead, the sound bites are ruling the airwaves- as exemplified by the excerpts from the speeches on Tuesday/Wednesday which are much different when seen as a whole than when the “highlights” are aired. The sound bite mentality does as much to polarize folks and leave them short on facts, long on myths as almost anything else.
Having Democrats speak to a Republican audience and vice versa would do a lot to get us to directly understand the other side, than constantly having to choose filters through which to view the events. And with a decline in objective reporting outside of perhaps CNN and NPR (and local stations, I suppose) finding objective news is getting harder and harder to find, so its natural for folks to choose a mentally friendly filter and hear what they want to, rather than what they need to hear.
Let’s spend more time listening to others. I really value my friendship with folks- friends and relatives with differing views, because it tests my resolve and makes me examine my own beliefs more, and without testing, what are they other than vague feelings?
Thank you to all my readers, and thanks to all my friends for being there and challenging me, and letting me ask you sincere questions to understand your positions, without it getting out of hand or confrontational. I love that most of all. Respect, understanding and learning.