While reading this article from The Atlantic about how the political climate is making it difficult for people to focus I began to think about how the language we use when talking about politics affects ourselves personally.
I am sure any reader of this website would know that I am not a fan of Donald Trump’s policies. But speaking about him in an “us vs. them” dichotomy leaves out the truth. We have more in common than we think.
Let us take the words Republicans and Democrats out of the conversation. Let us use the words liberal and conservative. Liberals tend to think bigger when it comes to social and economic issues, realizing that there are people who started economically and socially disadvantaged and wish to push those people forward. Pushing others forward does not mean pushing others back.
Conservatives tend to think smaller when it comes to social and economic issues. Believing that the family and the community do better at taking care of those economically and socially disadvantaged they advocate for smaller government and no free handouts. Everyone has the same chances, legally, so why should they get a handout.
This is why party politics is frustrating, because nobody is wholly liberal or wholly conservative. I wish this conservative model was true, but in this day in age it isn’t. I am sure we can all find topics that you can agree with someone who says they are on the opposite political spectrum.
We need to speak to each other calmly and rationally. Silencing each other or refusing to say someone’s name belongs in fictional stories. If we “imagine the other side more complexly”, as John Green would say, and remember that those you disagree with do not want to destroy the country we can have a conversation. Not a conversation in anger, but a conversation in kindness and understanding.
This administration asks these questions of all of us: What is the role of the Federal Government? How much power should the State Government have? Is healthcare a right or a privilege? Once we can talk about these three things calmly we can move forward with a future full of compromise.