Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

"I never considered a difference of opinion 
in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend." 
 - Thomas Jefferson

The election is FINALLY over.  Barack Obama is still the president and, according to the popular vote, 51% of you are elated.  The other 48% are wallowing despair.  

I have to admit that I was shocked by the closeness of this presidential race.  With a mere 1-3 points separating the candidates across much of the country, it is obvious that we really are a nation divided.

In hindsight, I guess it shouldn't have been such a surprise.  This chasm didn't merely appear with the start of the 2012 election, in fact, it's been growing for years.  What does seem different, however, is the way we Americans are choosing to express our varied opinions.  I have to be honest, I don't like what I'm seeing.

Let's recap some of election 2012's most disgraceful highlights:

Hateful, mean-spirited and inflammatory tweets, Facebook status updates and blog posts have been flooding the web for months.  While the sheer volume of nastiness seemed to reach epic proportions in the days and weeks leading up to election night, there is still no end in sight.  We will be taking pot shots at one another until the votes are tallied in another four years.

During the final days of early voting, and on election day itself, the news was filled with hundreds of accusations of fraud, tampering, suppression and people making threats against their fellow voters.  Before one side starts feeling too smug, the fault was equally divided among BOTH parties.  

While this kind of behavior is commonplace in other parts of the world (Ever hear of Syria, Libya, Russia, China, Venezuela, Iran..?), it shouldn't happen here.  In America.  The land of the free and the home of the brave.

Even the media is divided.  Instead of providing balanced and fair reports, each network, publication and news outlet has taken up sides.  This only furthers to fuel the rabid hatred that seems to burn throughout our country.

We should be ashamed of ourselves. 

Have we forgotten that the first settlers came to America in search of freedom?  Freedom from tyranny, freedom of religion, freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom to live their lives the way that they chose.  That freedom wasn't and still isn't free.  The cost has been paid in the lives of countless men and women.

Gone are the days of civil and thoughtful discussion among friends.  The idea of "let's agree to disagree" is no longer socially acceptable.  Instead, we prefer to whack one another upside the head with our shovel of opinion in the hopes that it will miraculously change another's way of thinking. 

I dare you to find one instance where someone's mind was enlightened or where their heart was moved to think differently as a result of such barbaric tactics.  It just doesn't work.

As a nation, we need to find a way to lay aside our pettiness and find some middle ground.  We need to learn to respectfully listen to the opinions of our fellow man lest our own views fall on deaf ears.  Both sides need to come out of their respective corners, olive branches extended in their hands, and start up an honest conversation.    

There is much to be gained by spending time and breaking bread with those who don't share our views.  It makes us a better, more compassionate and thoughtful people.  It also makes us stronger as a nation.  

The diverse melting pot of race, culture and ideas is what makes America such a wonderful place to live.  The rest of the world knows it.  I think it's about time we remind ourselves.  

*** A special thanks to my hubby for finding wonderful quote by Thomas Jefferson.  I think it is timely and sums up the way that I've been feeling these past few weeks. 

2 comment(s). Leave yours!:

Courtney said... Best Blogger Tips

I couldn't agree more. I was just on FB where I was totally incensed by a "friend"'s political rant. It is ugly and hateful and this "friend" calls herself a Christian. I read a quote recently that said, "If the way you practice your politics pushes people farther away from Jesus, then you're doing it wrong."
I want to do it right! I can agree to disagree. :)
That's one thing I love so much about Redeemer. Growing up in the churches I attended it was assumed that if you were a Christian, then you were a Republican. I love that there's an equal mix of liberals, conservatives, and a few wacky third-party people thrown into the mix at our church. I think it's so healthy to spend time with people who vote the opposite of you - it makes it easier to remember that we're all humans, with good and bad points to all of us.

And I LOVE #1123 from your last post. See if Jim can give Grant a few hints :)

helen said... Best Blogger Tips

Your candidate or not...we must all respect the office of the presidency; it's what we're all about.

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