On the US Election

On the US Election November 7, 2012

Something that really struck me during the US campaign season is how little credit each ‘side’ is willing to give the people on the other ‘side’. You see a lot of assumptions about motivation, intelligence, compassion, goals, and a tendency to only engage the worst arguments and examples of the other ‘side’, rather than the best. 

One of the effects of the new media and increased fracturing of american culture is that we are often unaware of just how different the world, nation, and society can look to our neighbor. Election season gives us a chance to see ourselves caricatured by our neighbors perceptual lens. This is always jarring, but even more so when the person who sees us (via our ‘side’) in such a distorted manner is someone we considered a friend, liked, even admired. 

Perhaps what needs to happen, now that the race is past and the pressure is off, is for each of us to look at those people whose views seem so alien, who perhaps we avoided (or blocked on FB) because the divide was so hurtful, and reach out to say – I don’t understand. Can you explain to me how the world looks to you? Can you explain to me why you see things so very differently? Do you have the time to try to understand where I am coming from? 

There’s no election at stake now. But there is friendship, and respect, and charity at stake, and wisdom to gain.

(I put ‘side’ in quotes throughout because I don’t think the US is really split into two sides…more like twenty. 🙂 If you all had a parliamentary system, it would be a fantastic melange.)

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