Polarization is overtaking us as a people who were once diverse. You cannot turn on an electronic device or happen upon a conversation in a coffee shop, and not realize that the issue of national polarization is worsening.
We all know this. We are all talking about it. We all hold in the back of our minds that this is the stuff that civil wars are made of.
This is how polarization is defined according to the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus
Hell Bent on Being Hell Bent
One of the most shocking aspects of the division, is that people seem unwilling to explore the validity of an opposing viewpoint. Even if a viewpoint isn’t valid, shouldn’t we at least be curious about it? Why are we so hell bent on being hell bent?
Where are the voices of reason that say, “Let me try to understand what you are saying”? People throw around sources and opinions like it is ammunition and if you fire enough, you can kill off the opposing view. There are many issues that are not black and white, but we refuse to accept that.
Why is it so difficult to see or hear an opposing viewpoint? It doesn’t mean that you must change yours. It means you are listening and are giving value to others.
There is Hope for Humanity
I met some of the most intelligent, promising humans a few days after the last presidential election. I went to South Padre Island, on the Texas border for some down time. I was sitting in the hot tub alone, enjoying the peace, when two women, a lesbian couple, joined me. This was fine because they were quiet and friendly.
Next, came a whole group of young men, which I knew were going to have way more fun in the hot tub than I was willing to have.
The election was on everyone’s topic of conversation and just as I was about to exit the hot tub, because quiet was no longer an option, one of the young men asked me this question. “As a white woman, who did you vote for?”
I was the only white person present, which is something I am used to because I do mission work in Mexico and Nicaragua and that is usually the case.
Let me be clear, the young man was in no way being rude, he was trying to come to terms with the election. I gave him my answer, which I will reserve for anyone who wants to ask me in as polite and searching manner as that young man did.
Before I was even finished with my answer, one of the young women, from the couple spoke up and said, “I will tell you who I voted for; I voted for Trump.”
Everyone was in shock, including me. She continued, “As a Hispanic, lesbian, woman, nobody has ever prevented me from achieving anything. Yes, he (Trump)is a jerk, (She may have used a slightly stronger word) but we need strong borders, a strong military, and a strong economy so that we can remain free.
The left has not made any indication that those things are priorities.” She went on to say, “I would never force a person to make a cake for me, if it violated their conscience. I care more about the future of our country and every person’s liberty, than I do about my own issues, which I as a competent woman can achieve for myself.” Her words, not C
Considering Opposing Views Won’t Hurt You
I use her as an example not to advocate for her position, but because she obviously is familiar with issues on both sides and has chosen to consider the whole picture. She chose, based on considering circumstances outside of her own preferences. She even considered the values of the baker, and realized that there is a huge difference between hate and holding on to values.
It would be wonderful if people could work things out like we did in that hot tub. We all voted differently. We all listened. We all valued the opinions that we heard.
We didn’t all agree on topics or have the same values, but we all agreed that we should defend the right of everyone to live according to their own conscience.
I enjoyed every moment of our discussion, knowing that there is hope for our future if other people are as willing as these to turn the hate off and listen to views that are not their own.
This balanced position, will undoubtedly, anger many people, and they are already thinking of the rhetoric that they would have spewed, had they been there.
Blessings to All