Republican/Democrat, race, gender, socioeconomic status, pro-choice/right-to-life, pro-gay marriage/anti-gay marriage, Coke/Pepsi; just look at the articles in any newspaper, blogs and their comments or simply turn on talk radio to see and feel the constant division and tendency to choose the box we want to be tucked into today. For the past two months, I’ve avoided consuming any local news outside the actual newspaper. No blogs, no online comments, no talk radio, nothing. And you know what? I feel better!
Submersing myself on a near daily basis with all the negative people who feel they must put their two cents worth in on a topic, even if it’s not the topic that was written about but they try to somehow fit their opinion somewhere, wore me down. It really didn’t matter how upbeat, positive, selfless or well intentioned a topic or story was, the Nasties attacked – and still do. I’m pretty convinced that the same Nasties who just want to argue on blogs and articles are the same Nasties who listen to local talk radio and complain there; I was beginning to believe there really were that many Nasties in Rockford until I came to this conclusion.
Today I dipped my toe back into online news, and regretted it. I read Ted Biondio’s blog on compromise and the online conversation and remembered why I stopped reading online. I went on to read a couple of letters to the editor about racism and pro-lifers, and again felt sickened at the attacking and disrespectful discourse. A New York Times article on the impact of spending cuts on real people and the inevitable comments further alienated me. What has happened to moderate people who can see both sides of an issue and don’t take it as a badge of honor to be so far left or right that they’re hanging on the edge by their fingernails?
Everything seems to be about winning at any cost. The issues have become faceless. People are no longer considered part of the equation; their plights and struggles are their own fault and they need to take care of themselves. All of us working people are sick and tired of taking care of those who won’t help themselves. Forget that there are many times extenuating circumstances that keep people from truly taking care of themselves and their own – it doesn’t matter, suck it up and quit relying on others to take care of you. The tone today is harsh, cold and unaccepting.
Budgets are a direct reflection of our priorities and most times our belief systems. It’s pretty easy to determine what is important to someone, or a political party, by looking at their budget (should they have been the developer of said budget). Where does a majority of their spending go? Who or what gets cut first? Is it all about winning their argument or can they see both sides of the issue and compromise in the middle?
As Ted Biondo indicated in his blog, there isn’t much compromise going on in Washington, and I’d say there isn’t much compromise going on in many other places. Whatever the argument or position, try moving back to the middle, remember the faces attached to the argument and accept the fact that there will be other opinions – and they are no less valid than yours. It’s not always about winning the argument, sometimes it’s about the greater good and moderate dialogue with concessions will win the day. To quote the late Rodney King, “Can’t we all just get along?”