(I will now get on my little soapbox and rant.) As the recent election draws near, I watch the political ads of the candidates running for president, read articles and listen to debates between acquaintances. I listen to both sides and watch friends, acquaintances and family members tear each other apart as they argue about which side is better and why. I read articles demeaning the beliefs and even the character of the people running for their parties. I see various ads on television doing the same thing and frankly, it makes me sick! I get so tired of seeing people tear each other down for their beliefs whether they be religious, political or otherwise.
How is it possible that sane, ordinary people who live and work side-by-side can suddenly began to see their neighbors, co-workers, and friends as their sworn enemy if they oppose their views? Whatever happened to friendly debate? What happened to level-headed discussions of differing opinions? What happened to RESPECT?
I can tell you what happened…greed and power. Where does most of this hatred and intolerance come from and how is it spread? The media, of course. (And here I must insert a thank you to my friend Coen whose brain I highly respect. It was he who first suggested this idea to me and I must say, I see a great deal of truth in it.) Supposedly the media just reports “facts”, but we all know that is not the case. Facts can be twisted to represent the opinions and beliefs of whomever is writing them. It seems to me almost as if a great deal of the media does its best to make us hate each other more and more every day. (No offense meant to my nephew, McKay Coppins, whose articles and writing I respect). Republicans vs. Democrats, Conservatives vs. Liberals, Gay vs. Straight, Black vs. White, Non-religious vs. religious, this church hating that church, this group of people hating that group of people…it seems to be a never-ending stream of vile hatred spewing forth from the mouths of people who once claimed tolerance and respect.
But why? Why would the media or any group have us turn against each other? There are answers… but I think I will allow my readers to just simply ponder over that question and find their own answers to it.
Yet, while pondering that answer, I would respectfully make a request of all of those I know. Can’t we stop the fighting and the arguing in the meantime? Am I the only one who is tired of all of this? Why must we always be right? Can’t we instead reach across the table and see that person or group of people we have been fighting with as simply someone who wants to make life better? Maybe a little more patience, a little more understanding, a little more listening and less shouting, and a little more respect would go much farther in solving problems than the way the world goes about it today. Maybe our nation, and those of other nations around the world, would not be so torn.
The Founding Fathers of this great nation came from all different backgrounds and beliefs, yet they reached across their table of differences and came up with one of the greatest pieces of writing this world has seen. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Those words still send chills down my spine.
I’ve been accused of being naïve and innocent…and maybe I am, but almost everyone I have known is just seeking to make life a little better for themselves and the ones they love “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Instead of shouting at one another across the table, can’t we shake hands and agree to help each other find a better way? And so, from my small corner of the world, I will first put out my hand…