Monday, December 23, 2019


Article by M Teresa Clayton (from a post on Facebook)

We have all been advised to not discuss money, religion or politics. Don’t discuss it with family, friends or strangers. Don’t discuss it in public (or in public forums). But, we do it anyway.
For the past three years, we have been discussing politics at a fever pitch. We are deeply divided. We are critically polarized. We have come to see the other as an enemy, as lesser folks, as idiots.
So, why do we continue to discuss, debate or bully those that have a different take on the process? Could it be to hear ourselves think? Could it be that we love a fight? Could it be that we love the attention? Could it be that we want to publicly display our political prowess? (Oh boy, wait till I get into it with this guy and show him how intellectually superior I am!) What I do know is this, arguing causes a severe case of selective hearing.
There are always going to be people who disagree with us. There will always be people we do not agree with. There are always going to be those who believe one thing while the other believes something else. I could go on and on. Where is the truth? Where is the absolute correct side of the issues?
Using the above as a diagram – there are two deeply polarized positions on the political scale (maybe more, but for argument’s sake, we’ll only look at two). We tend to become zealots when attacked, or what seems like an attack. Another way of looking at this is to view the synonyms – fanatic, radical, maniac, extremist, nut. The truth does not solely exist on the extremes – it is, indeed, somewhere in the middle… finding it is the problem.
We all see a gross amount of news, posts, pictures, and written arguments to know how the other side sees its truth. We all have similar beliefs on who did what to whom and how the other side is lying or covering up something. It becomes even more evident in a public debate/argument. “What about what so-and-so did?” Gaslighting. Cherry Picking. Distracting. Etc.
Little do we know what is fact and what is fiction. It really depends on our own needs, wants, fears, prejudices, religious affiliations, family affiliations, so on and so on. Even where we live can have a great influence on our views of right and wrong, truth and lies.
So, how do we proceed? I don’t have an absolute to offer.
I liked you before I knew about your political views so why can’t I continue a friendship while respecting your choices?
Perhaps one way to better have this conversation is through a positive rather than a negative approach. I cannot change your mind while debating you, arguing with you or hating you. But, maybe I can affect your position by offering information passively. I can post articles, cite sources for my position, ask questions and invite you to ask me. No judgment.
One thing we can all agree on is this – the world is becoming more and more complicated every year. The world is an ugly place for beautiful people to coexist without incorporating some of that ugliness ourselves. But there are ugly and beautiful souls on both sides. There is no remedy in becoming more divided and polarized. We need to stop attacking each other and learn to dance. There will always be yin to our yang.
If you think that this world is close to collapse, let me remind you that life itself breathes in and breathes out. There will always be a time of struggling, of being broken down in order to rise up better and more enlightened. For some of us, this is a time of darkness and we fear it. For others, it is a time of light. That will change and those who felt the darkness will stand in the light and those in the light will come into their darkness.
People, we NEED to be on opposite sides in order to protect those the truth and our salvation. Falling into one mindset eliminates those checks and balances and we would find ourselves living like Eloi to the Morlocks (Time Machine by H.G. Wells – maybe we should all go back and watch this movie again – or for the first time. It is a good predictor of the future – according to Wells).
We must not be distracted by being separated into two camps that cannot get along. We must find a way to be critical thinkers and to remain our neighbor’s brother/sister. No room for hate.

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