When you look at the latest political race, it is hard not to cringe at the level of prejudice, insensitivity and myopia. Unfortunately there is no refuge because these attitudes exist in abundance on all sides of the political spectrum. Hypocrisy, blind faith and various forms of religion are being displayed by those sitting on both the left and right.
“She’s an embarrassment to our nation”
“They are destroying our country. They need to be stopped”
“We are evolved not extremists like them”
“You should stop pointing fingers” (while pointing a finger)
“He is a hateful idiot; we care about people”
“Unlike them, we understand how the world works”
The anger is deeply entrenched in the words leaders speak, the media, everyday conversations, and especially online where no one has to look the other person in the eye when judging or criticizing. One side attacks the other and points fingers in a “holier than thou” stance, but does that make them any different from each other?
I do it myself. In my head I will say, “he doesn’t know what he is talking about, I am smarter than him.” But am I really that smart to think like this? We all have different opinions and there are valuable lessons to be learned by considering different perspectives rather than dismissing an idea that conflicts with our own preconceived notions.
Scientific American Mind magazine recently wrote about a study which found that when people feel safe and secure, they become more liberal in their attitudes and when they feel threatened, they become more conservative (see Calling a Truce in the Political Wars below).
The irony in all of this is that we are all more compatible than we think. Should this come as any surprise? Of course not. Then why not accept each other and have objective discussions rather than segregating ourselves and limiting real positive change?
As the article points out, there are important ethical and moral virtues on both the left and right and the different viewpoints on various issues balance each other and make our lives better. Ying and yang if you will.
This applies to all aspects of life, not just political debate. You see the world differently if you consider the good in opposing opinions. I am daring myself to do this more often. I dare you to try it as well.