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Politically Connected

It is really uncomfortable talking about politics these days. This single topic has the potential to separate life long friends and make for just truly uncomfortable situations. It is the subject we need to be talking about but most of us get so passionate about it the conversation becomes anything but constructive. I can think of no other topic myself that absolutely promises to become as emotional to this one. Honestly, I can’t tell if it is because we love politics or hate them that causes this to happen either.

Regardless of your political party alignment, if you have one, I think politics is something that does impact us all. It is a foundational freedom in our country granting us the liberty of how we want to be governed. It is our civic responsibility to care about politics. I also believe we have distorted what this actually means and how to manage it. We have let it consume us to the point emotions boil over and in our passionate rage we damage connections with each other through insults, bullying, screaming, arguing and more. Simply put we are not politically correct and we have taken politics too far.

I believe the fundamental cause of this disruption in our political responsibilities is we have lost the natural ability to discuss, collaborate and mutually agree in the pursuit of reaching common ground with each other. Simply put we’ve stopped caring what other people think.

It is easy to get wound up in our own ideas of right and wrong. We all have thoughts about how the government should work and how much authority it should have on our daily lives. When we are passionate about something it is easy to forget someone may see the situation differently. As a result, it is super easy to accuse them of being wrong and work vehemently to change their opinion. When they don’t we get louder and may even resort to name calling said in frustration for their shortsightedness. Yet when this happens we forget how to talk and listen in true meaning of conversation, debate and collaboration to find common ground. In other words, it gets personal.

How we choose to be governed and who represents our interests is important. Decisions made can be felt for generations to come having ramifications in our finances, safety, health and more! We hope those we elect will carry the burden of responsibility seriously and act with integrity and best interest of us all. We however never really know that about someone do we? There are numerous stories of scandal, personal and political agenda, and back door handshake deals that line pockets, abuse power and take advantage of us all. It can certainly shake faith in a system that is meant to promote justice, equality and the protection of our freedoms. It also however fuels our opinions and further inhibits the ability to talk about it in search of a solution.

I have become concerned if it is even possible to discuss openly differences of political opinion.

Can we have these tough yet important conversations in a way that honors, respects and considers something different than our own view? Can we accept, without bitterness and resentment, with interest in finding a way to move forward if the decisions made by the majority do not reflect our opinion? Neither of these are easy questions but necessary. Both questions ask us to do things that seem counterintuitive to being heard and having our opinion matter. Most importantly they challenge us to leave open a pathway among our passionate thoughts the opportunity to be influenced by something completely different. Possibly considering and even admitting occasionally that perhaps we were wrong. Gasp!