Let’s step back from the brink

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We’re at a horrible impasse, aren’t we? One side thinks the other is irredeemably racist and bigoted, incapable of rational dialogue and deserving only of scorn and derision, while the other side thinks their counterparts foolish at best, and dangerous fanatics at worst. These sentiments can easily be said of both sides, depending on the situation.

We have to find common ground somehow and learn to live with each other, if not love each other as some itinerant preacher commanded 2000 years ago.

We also have to be able to speak the truth about these topics without fear of being attacked or de-friended or fired. This is one of the most disturbing aspects of today’s political discourse … that it is no longer a discourse.

Rather, we have a situation akin to what is seen in totalitarian countries. If you say something that seems or can be construed as being of the incorrect ideological bent, you risk social and even professional harm.

We can’t solve problems if we can’t have an honest dialogue and instead resort only to insults, shouts, and slogans. That is why our founders enshrined the freedom of speech as the first amendment in our Bill of Rights.

So I would ask the left to not assume the worst about your political opposites, and to stop judging people so quickly as being some sort of heinous bigot. After all, don’t people on the left constantly condemn conservatives for being judgmental about a range of moral issues? Perhaps follow your own advice and refrain from judging your fellow man or woman and instead focus on the content of their arguments.

We on the right need to do the same, of course, but should also seek to better understand the reasons for the rage we see from the left. I am tempted to dismiss it, to “fight fire with fire” and get as angry at them as they are at our society or nation. But that doesn’t solve anything.

Instead, we should perhaps wonder what kind of hopelessness and despair is driving this anger? After all, there is a large swath of our population who are, for a variety of reasons, effectively cut off from the promises and opportunities of America, and feel an understandable resentment toward a system that seems to deny them any chance of success. We can debate why that is, but those feelings are real and painful.

I would also argue that we ignore the plight of the under-class pretty consistently. Or, some of us use their suffering to gain power. Some, on both sides, tell poor people that one solution to their woes is to kill the babies in their wombs. I can understand if they resent the larger society who ignores, condescends, or condemns them in such a manner.

But we all agree that their plight should be addressed constructively and that we would have the highest chance of success if we could work together and discuss problems honestly and frankly, without assuming the worst of the other’s motives.

We should also focus much less on the sins and failings of our political foes. When you’re consumed with the negative aspects of another person or ideology, you’re generally working very little on being a better person yourself. I am as guilty of this as anyone!

One final idea: next time you feel like protesting or sending an angry tweet or badmouthing your real or imagined enemy, do an act of kindness for someone, even if it’s only a positive thought or short prayer. Imagine what our country would be like if everyone did this … if we, as a rule, returned good for evil.

In the end, we are all called to care for each other and to love our neighbor, not hate them. Hatred is the enemy of peace, so if your feel it in your heart for any reason, no matter how justified, seek to replace it with love and you will make the world a better, happier place.

Trey Hoffman

Peachtree City, Ga.

5 COMMENTS

  1. I say let’s go to the brink and then take action against the Democratic liars, traitors and anarchist that are the other party.
    Seek them out where they go, no peace, drive them out, make them pay to the limit of the law and with the voters wrath expel them from all forms of government.

    All they have done is try to destroy the lives of others whom they hate…and hate they will reap.
    No peace…so long as the main characters are in the halls of power.

  2. Something else to ponder about the fruits of their tree – the FBI’s tree.

    On one hand there is a crime being committed against a major political figure Gov. Gretchen D-MI and she is told of the crime in progress and actually submits to being relocated by the FBI for her safety. The perps are arrested and will be punished.

    Then a few years ago a crime is being committed against a major political figure President-elect Donald R-NY and he is not told of the crime, he is not offered protection of any kind, he was not asked to engage in counter-measures to arrest the perps and once again (I can’t emphasize this enough) he was not even told about the crime being committed against him. The perps are currently employed at CNN, writing books or huddling with their lawyers waiting for Mr. Durham’s considerable shoe to drop.

    Before thinking about how the Gov and the Pres handled all this verbally, example #1 is textbook FBI doing its job – awards and rewards are called for – congrats! Example #2 is exactly the opposite. Firing, censure, jail time is called for.

    Its ok like Trey says to have kind thoughts and pray for someone and I will, but I also feel free to judge people or agencies by their actions and deeds – both good and bad. So, pray for Christopher Wray , then ask why he is still there.

  3. Apparently, Mr. Hoffman experienced a Damascus road epiphany. After penning dozens of hyper-partisan missives to The Citizen riddled with half truths and the most tortured logic, now he seeks Lincolnesque love and reconciliation. Although he couldn’t resist including a barb about killing babies, he pledges a listening ear and empathic responses to his ideological opposites. Why can’t we all be guided by our “better angels?” he asks.

    Even though I am eternally skeptical of evangelicals bearing olive branches, I hope Trey is sincere. Expecting him to cease filling Cal’s inbox is probably a bridge too far; however, perhaps he will acknowledge competing ideas without ridicule and apply at least the most elemental logic to his arguments. Might he even emerge from his information silo and research a topic broadly before tapping the keyboard?

    Trey, I’ll hold you to your conciliatory word. That ancient itinerant preacher you mentioned offered the ultimate test: “By their fruits you shall know them.” We’ll inspect the produce from Hoffman’s tree.