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Can't We All Just Get Along?


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Sigh. I'm quoting the guy - was it Ronald King? The LA riots, early 90s. But seriously. We need to mend this country (don't know if this is as big an issue in other countries). Everyone is so combative. Everyone is so upset with people who feel differently about every possible issue.

 

I am including myself. I'm not exempt. But I'm trying to be. I wish we (the nation, society as a whole) could have discourse and not end up jumping on our relative sides, unable to understand. I've been taking classes in meditation. I just wish I could get better at carrying that peace into the wider world and "infecting" others with it. Is that possible?

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I think the only thing that might bring people together is some sort of big national emergency of some sort, where it became an "us vs. them" situation because we would all share a common goal.

 

Obviously, I don't want to see anything like that happen, though.

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I think the only thing that might bring people together is some sort of big national emergency of some sort, where it became an "us vs. them" situation because we would all share a common goal.

 

Obviously, I don't want to see anything like that happen, though.

For real. It was like that for maybe two weeks after 2,000+ people died on 9-11-01. But I hope it would not take a mass attack for us to unify.

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We're at the point where the two sides are consuming a completely different set of information, and a great deal of it is utterly false. We use the same words to mean totally different things sometimes. Even when we mean the same thing with words, they often have radically different connotations. We even increasingly have a totally different popular media diet. It's hard to know where to find common ground when we can't even agree on facts, definitions of words, and who qualifies as famous.

 

I used to feel that "the other side" was well intentioned and had integrity, even if I disagreed with them. Even if I laughably disagreed with them. Even when they made me furious. But I don't feel that way anymore about the majority of people on the other side. There are a few writers and politicians and so forth that I continue to respect even though I disagree with them, but mostly I have come to think that the "other side" has become callously cruel or purposefully obtuse. And that's hard. Like, I don't know how to get past that. And if *I* - who am often the first to jump on my same side friends about being hypocrites or giving someone the benefit of the doubt or not making it personal - feel that way, then I think it must have gotten really bad.

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Social media is a bloodbath but really, most people are reasonable in real life, I think.

I totally agree that on a personal level most people are reasonable. That said, there are vast values differences that I don't see as being reconcilable. Which to me is fine, but it's why "we can't all get along".

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I totally agree that on a personal level most people are reasonable. That said, there are vast values differences that I don't see as being reconcilable. Which to me is fine, but it's why "we can't all get along".

 

Yes. Even if we somehow got on the same page about what facts are. I don't know if the values could be reconciled.

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Nope. I refuse. To loosely quote Baldwin,if disagreement is based in the basic right of my family to exist, I'm not going to fall in line and make chit chat.

I'm not going to fight or argue, that would be getting to me and we can't have that.

Edited by madteaparty
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I think the real difference is the internet.  The internet makes it way too easy for people to find people who think just like them and have just the same beliefs.  Way too easy to "virtually isolate" themselves.  It also makes it way to easy to see people as...not people, but THEM. 

 

For me, personally, it's the opposite.  It's become easy to see many people I know show their lack of humanity. I'm not isolated, I'm disgusted and wishing I could be isolated.

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Social media is a bloodbath but really, most people are reasonable in real life, I think.

Yeah, it's extremely sad that now I'm more worried about my daughter spending time reading the venomous comments sections on news articles and YouTube than running across porn. I never thought I'd say this, but I'm more worried about her thinking people talking like that is normal or okay and spend more time talking about how that is NOT okay lately than addressing drugs or sex or normal teenage parent crap.

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I don't think that's really any different though than our nation's history has ever been. 

 

I think it's also important to remember there are 300 million people in our country.  That's a lot of people.  Of COURSE there will be irreconcilable differences. 

 

When I think back to twenty years ago or forty years ago... we were on the same media diet, had the at least some of the same news sources, and usually shared civic organizations. Regional dialects were stronger perhaps, especially forty or fifty years ago, but the concept of political dialects being different was relatively unheard of. We mostly used the same terms to discuss things, we just had different views about the philosophy behind things. We were less religiously diverse even a few decades ago. We were less ethnically diverse as well. The differences in perception of rights for LGBTQ people is such that even some people who are strongly pro-LGBTQ rights feel a sense of future shock. There are just so many more people than a generation ago.

 

The nation has been through some really hard times... but I do think we're facing some new challenges.

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What happened to differences make us stronger? What happened to being the same is boring? When did I have to always to agree with everyone or we can't be friends - or civil even?

I'm so tired of everyone being on edge about everything and so very my way or the highway. I know there are people with real hurt going through tough things, but let's be honest - a bunch of stuff people are just being stupid about. And not just stupid, but plain mean.

Be nice to people. If you have different opinions talk about it, don't yell and get nasty and dissolve relationships. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Stop being offended by every little thing. My liking something doesn't take away from you liking something else.

I know people we have to walk on eggshells when we're around them because they're so easily offended. They're like a balloon waiting to pop and I don't want to be the pin that does it. It's exhausting. It would be so nice to relax and talk without being afraid all the time. So many topics we can't discuss- church, politics, almost anything in the news, homeschooling. And we're missing out on good conversations that could be had if everyone could just settle down.

I do hope something can be done to change the current climate. Not a tragedy, but something.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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I don't think that's really any different though than our nation's history has ever been.

 

I think it's also important to remember there are 300 million people in our country. That's a lot of people. Of COURSE there will be irreconcilable differences.

I don't disagree. I think people tend to romanticize the past too much. We weren't all singing kumbaya people.

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When I think back to twenty years ago or forty years ago... we were on the same media diet, had the at least some of the same news sources, and usually shared civic organizations. Regional dialects were stronger perhaps, especially forty or fifty years ago, but the concept of political dialects being different was relatively unheard of. We mostly used the same terms to discuss things, we just had different views about the philosophy behind things. We were less religiously diverse even a few decades ago. We were less ethnically diverse as well. The differences in perception of rights for LGBTQ people is such that even some people who are strongly pro-LGBTQ rights feel a sense of future shock. There are just so many more people than a generation ago.

 

The nation has been through some really hard times... but I do think we're facing some new challenges.

I also don't disagree with this. Color me ambivalent.

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We're at the point where the two sides are consuming a completely different set of information, and a great deal of it is utterly false. We use the same words to mean totally different things sometimes. Even when we mean the same thing with words, they often have radically different connotations. We even increasingly have a totally different popular media diet. It's hard to know where to find common ground when we can't even agree on facts, definitions of words, and who qualifies as famous.

 

I used to feel that "the other side" was well intentioned and had integrity, even if I disagreed with them. Even if I laughably disagreed with them. Even when they made me furious. But I don't feel that way anymore about the majority of people on the other side. There are a few writers and politicians and so forth that I continue to respect even though I disagree with them, but mostly I have come to think that the "other side" has become callously cruel or purposefully obtuse. And that's hard. Like, I don't know how to get past that. And if *I* - who am often the first to jump on my same side friends about being hypocrites or giving someone the benefit of the doubt or not making it personal - feel that way, then I think it must have gotten really bad.

 

 

Same.

 

There was a lot buried under the surface of "niceness" for a lot of people, that I did not know was there...until the political climate changed and certain sentiments were again considered somewhat okay to express. I am shocked, I'm not getting over it, and I don't want to get over it.

 

So much progress was a sham. There were "nice" people pretending to acknowledge civil rights, but really they were only biding their time until their sense of right and wrong, rose again...

 

I thought that in our country, once civil rights were won, they were no longer on the table. I thought that because up until this moment in time, there have been very few rollbacks, and those have been roundly criticized through the lens of history.

 

But NOW, you might have been married legally 6 months ago yet not know if you will be legal next week.

 

You might have had a legal adoption in the works that will now be disrupted.

 

You might have been able to travel freely as a permanent resident, but now you can't. Wait, you can. You can't. You can.

 

You might have had your gender identity protected at school, for one brief shining moment, but oops! Maybe not next year!

 

If you're a woman, you won the right to vote EONS ago, but you heard people decrying that, this past election.

 

 

 

I could go on all day. We have different values. Some people's values mean that others' freedom of movement, civil rights,  personal rights, judicial rights, and health care will be GONE.

 

How do you reconcile that. I don't think you can reconcile that by being nice.

 

Politeness and justice are not the same thing.

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Envy and schadenfruede have become loud.

When was the last time you were around people who could take joy in someone's hard work paying off, rather than seeing it as an injustice to themselves, who put no effort in?

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I think the people of this country lacks EMPATHY. 

 

We don't all have to agree, we don't all have to be on the same page. What we do need is the ability to see things from an opposing point of view and though we don't agree with it, we can peacefully discuss it and come to an amenable resolution. We don't need to learn how to get along, we need to learn how to disagree. Disagree with respect and a listening ear and an ability to understand that our experience is not all-encompassing and we cannot ignore the experiences of others. We can't keep railroading each other and stating that because I don't see things the way you do, you must be wrong. And don't mistake being respectful for being 'nice'. You can disagree forcefully and draw a line, while keeping communication (and mind and heart) open. Unfortunately, so many have closed their minds, hearts, and any attempts at true communication....so what can we do?

 

We shouldn't isolate ourselves to only listening to people who have our same experiences or think the way we do. It's hard to grow as a person that way. We shouldn't just watch CNN, or just FOX, or just MSNBC...we should watch them all to get different opinions, agendas, slants of the same story. Again, opposing yourself to opposing viewpoints isn't so you can be convinced or persuaded; it is so you can have EMPATHY, put yourself in their shoes, perhaps understand why they have that view and use that understanding to build a bridge to a resolution that works for all.

 

Edited by RenaInTexas
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I dunno, I think 20 to 40 yrs ago, so much more of the news was local in nature. Last night, I came across an article about Baby Jessica...Jessica McClure. DD21 and I ended up watching the made for TV movie. Anyway in the article, it described CNN as a fledgling news organization. Baby Jessica is now 30 yrs old. Which means CNN is only just 30 yrs or so old. Prior to CNN and it's ilk, where did people get their news? Local TV news organizations.

Those local TV stations though piped in a few well respected national news programs. Liberals and conservatives alike watched Walter Cronkite and his ilk and "fake news" wasn't attached to anything the viewer just didn't agree with. Even local papers carried well respected syndicated columnists who people of more than one political stripe could admire and trust.

 

I don't watch TV news at all but I've seen enough of it to know that it does sound a lot different than it did decades ago.

 

When the watergate scandal unfolded, there were people who felt all different ways about it but there was a near national consensus that "mistakes were made" and an understanding that something would come it it. If something of the same magnitude broke today, about a Republican OR a Democratic president it feels that 1/2 of the country, depending on if they liked the President or not, would rush in to disparage it as fake news and we'd have more than one set of "facts" swirling around. This is what is, while not totally new, quite troubling to me and to many.

 

Daniel Patrick Moynihan said something along the lines that we were entitled to our own opinions but not our own facts and it seems that has shifted and people really do operate as if their brand of ideology owns the facts. When there are no facts, there is no accountability. "I didn't take the cookie from the jar mom, he did it." "No, she did it!" Mom can not be *certain* who took the cookie. If one kid gets caught on video taking the cookie, well, that's just a doctored fake video, you see? No facts, no accountability.

 

David Frum's piece in the Atlantic this month was very, very good.

Edited by LucyStoner
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Ignoring the freakouts and bringing all the misreporting and drama forward works well enough. Divisions will only be settled when those making them stop dehumanizing their opposition.

 

It's obnoxious. But it's not new. The discourse is just losing its veneer of civility.

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I dunno, I think 20 to 40 yrs ago, so much more of the news was local in nature.  Last night, I came across an article about Baby Jessica...Jessica McClure.  DD21 and I ended up watching the made for TV movie.  Anyway in the article, it described CNN as a fledgling news organization.  Baby Jessica is now 30 yrs old.  Which means CNN is only just 30 yrs or so old.  Prior to CNN and it's ilk, where did people get their news?  Local TV news organizations, and the newspapers, which were also, for the most part, local.  In places like New York and Chicago and such, that would still provide diversity.  In much smaller areas, like where I am, and where so much of US citizens LIVED 50 yrs ago, probably not so much.  ''Religiously less diverse?  I don't really think so.  I mean it's not like Muslims, Jews, Athiests, Catholics, Hindus etc just showed up on our borders 20 yrs ago.  Less ethnically diverse?  Really?  This country was literally founded on diversity.  NYC was originally a Dutch colony, Maryland was founded as a refuge for Catholics and Florida was purchased from the Spanish.  Sure, today we can go "oh, well there are all white Europeans" but really, all of those groups and countries were battling each other at the time, like with firearms and pirates and everything.  The Declaration of Independence may have been a letter to the King of England, but for sure this country was created by a whole lot more than WASPS.

 

Demographically, we simply are more diverse now. That's just true. We're on a path to becoming a no majority nation. By 2045, whites will no longer be the majority in the US, which is a big shift. Yes, I'm aware that once upon a time, whiteness was not extended to all Europeans. But this nation has been overwhelmingly white even by the definitions of the times in power and demographics for its entire history and that's changing. And while of course Jews, Hindus, Muslims, etc. aren't new, there are more of them. Religious diversity used to mean different types of Christians - and of course that was hard enough for people to take but it now means different religious traditions altogether. The Muslim population in the US has more than doubled in the last decade. "Unaffiliated" is now the third largest religion in the US, which is another new trend - it used to be a relatively small percentage slice of the pie as recently as the 1990's. The number of people identifying as atheists has gone up dramatically as well.

 

I'm well aware of our history and how differences between different groups of European immigrants were part of our history and how those differences were, at the time, seen as just as disparate as the differences between groups now. I think the issue is that they simply were not. While Pennsylvania Quakers and Maryland Catholics at the turn of the 1800's felt at the time that they had a huge gulf of history, tradition, and belief between them. I would argue that the difference in values and experience between an evangelical, young Earth Christian in Alabama and a recent Sudanese immigrant in Maine and a young queer atheist in Oregon are gulfs that are much bigger.

 

ETA: As for the news, I think a generation ago, pre-CNN, most people got their news from the nightly network news, which was national, or from newspapers. And while the newspapers were local, they ran stories drawn in large part from the AP and other wire sources and, more importantly, were read by people on all sides of the political spectrum in the community. ETA2: Of course, there's also a long tradition of the two newspaper town, going back to the early Federal period. And sometimes that stuff got nasty, especially in the early Federal period, American Aurora and all that. I don't mean to say that it has always been nice. I do think people tend to look back on the past with rose colored glasses and I'm not trying to do that. I just think we have different challenges now. Two dueling papers slinging mud is a far cry from the array of instant options available to everyone now.

Edited by Farrar
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I struggle here because this community is a bit isolated and not prone to a lot of calm, logical thinking. Instead feelings are facts. So you can say statistics do not support a specific conclusion, and the response is that facts don't actually matter doing as "I feel" I am right or that something should be a certain way.

 

I can't really do anything but stay to myself. We are already outcasts for being "science dorks" and people can be pretty vocal and unfriendly, "scientists are elitists". We are more isolated than at any other time in our marriage. That doesn't exactly make my cup brim over with optimism.

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This is a musing based off of this conversation,  not a conviction- but I'm wondering if  people aren't really becoming more isolated, although that's the easy explanation- like seeks like and hates different. But, instead they are rebelling against not being able to be isolated. Before, you could escape things you didn't agree with. Find a like minded community to live in, a church, or social group with similar beliefs, media was pretty conservative (I mean movies and song type media not news- there were standards organizations that controlled what could be shown) and wasn't pushing envelopes necessarily, newspapers were decidedly of one persuasion or another in most towns and there was choice in many cases- subscribe to the one that better fit your leanings, that sort of thing......but now, you can't do it. There really is nowhere to escape things you disagree with. TV commercials- something as simple as that- have agendas far surpassing selling their product. They're selling a political message. I can't even have live TV commercials in my house lest my 4 year old see a woman deep throating a burger on a Hardee's or Carl's Jr. commercial, or worrying about questions from a Cialis commercial or anything else on a TV show aired at 10am on a family station.......it's just. Everywhere. Envelopes are constantly being pushed on so many fronts it becomes overwhelming. 

 

I have had to limit my daughter's exposure to freaking MINECRAFT websites because the kids are becoming so hateful and menacing over topics of religion, transgenderism, you name it. On a MineCraft site. These are kids- and it is explosively hateful. It's online, and on the media, and in person when you drive past protests and everywhere else. I do have to wonder if that's part of what makes so many of us feel it's coming to a head. 

Edited by texasmom33
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I think the people of this country lacks EMPATHY.

 

We don't all have to agree, we don't all have to be on the same page. What we do need is the ability to see things from an opposing point of view and though we don't agree with it, we can peacefully discuss it and come to an amenable resolution. We don't need to learn how to get along, we need to learn how to disagree. Disagree with respect and a listening ear and an ability to understand that our experience is not all-encompassing and we cannot ignore the experiences of others. We can't keep railroading each other and stating that because I don't see things the way you do, you must be wrong. And don't mistake being respectful for being 'nice'. You can disagree forcefully and draw a line, while keeping communication (and mind and heart) open. Unfortunately, so many have closed their minds, hearts, and any attempts at true communication....so what can we do?

 

We shouldn't isolate ourselves to only listening to people who have our same experiences or think the way we do. It's hard to grow as a person that way. We shouldn't just watch CNN, or just FOX, or just MSNBC...we should watch them all to get different opinions, agendas, slants of the same story. Again, opposing yourself to opposing viewpoints isn't so you can be convinced or persuaded; it is so you can have EMPATHY, put yourself in their shoes, perhaps understand why they have that view and use that understanding to build a bridge to a resolution that works for all.

I agree with your whole post, but especially the two bolded bits. I do think we don't know how to disagree without someone becoming incensed. However, I also think part of the reason for this is that the stakes feel so high. And the stakes feel so high because, as said upthread, we are operating from different sets of "facts."

 

I do think we should all be partaking of different news and getting differing POV, but this is hard too; it's difficult to allow enough time to get one story three ways. And discussing with other people can turn ugly at the drop of a hat and then it's just sort of miserable to be around the people who just had a flame war opinion on FB. Also, just because Person A is discussing a subject well and without getting his or her panties in a bunch, doesn't mean Person B or Person C is going to "do" the conversation well. You can't have a meaningful discussion if one person is flouncing off in a huff and another is hurling political insults.

 

I'm a bit depressed about it.

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This is a musing based off of this conversation, not a conviction- but I'm wondering if people aren't really becoming more isolated, although that's the easy explanation- like seeks like and hates different. But, instead they are rebelling against not being able to be isolated. Before, you could escape things you didn't agree with. Find a like minded community to live in, a church, or social group with similar beliefs, media was pretty conservative (I mean movies and song type media not news- there were standards organizations that controlled what could be shown) and wasn't pushing envelopes necessarily, newspapers were decidedly of one persuasion or another in most towns and there was choice in many cases- subscribe to the one that better fit your leanings, that sort of thing......but now, you can't do it. There really is nowhere to escape things you disagree with. TV commercials- something as simple as that- have agendas far surpassing selling their product. They're selling a political message. I can't even have live TV commercials in my house lest my 4 year old see a woman deep throating a burger on a Hardee's or Carl's Jr. commercial, or worrying about questions from a Cialis commercial or anything else on a TV show aired at 10am on a family station.......it's just. Everywhere. Envelopes are constantly being pushed on so many fronts it becomes overwhelming.

 

I have had to limit my daughter's exposure to freaking MINECRAFT websites because the kids are becoming so hateful and menacing over topics of religion, transgenderism, you name it. On a MineCraft site. These are kids- and it is explosively hateful. It's online, and on the media, and in person when you drive past protests and everywhere else. I do have to wonder if that's part of what makes so many of us feel it's coming to a head.

 

I think you are on to something here...

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I agree with your whole post, but especially the two bolded bits. I do think we don't know how to disagree without someone becoming incensed. However, I also think part of the reason for this is that the stakes feel so high. And the stakes feel so high because, as said upthread, we are operating from different sets of "facts."

 

I do think we should all be partaking of different news and getting differing POV, but this is hard too; it's difficult to allow enough time to get one story three ways. And discussing with other people can turn ugly at the drop of a hat and then it's just sort of miserable to be around the people who just had a flame war opinion on FB. Also, just because Person A is discussing a subject well and without getting his or her panties in a bunch, doesn't mean Person B or Person C is going to "do" the conversation well. You can't have a meaningful discussion if one person is flouncing off in a huff and another is hurling political insults.

 

I'm a bit depressed about it.

We are more stratified than we've ever been. One side is panicking because factors seem to be pointing to the looming end of civilization and the other side is laughing at their distress. How do you reconcile that?

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I agree with your whole post, but especially the two bolded bits. I do think we don't know how to disagree without someone becoming incensed. However, I also think part of the reason for this is that the stakes feel so high. And the stakes feel so high because, as said upthread, we are operating from different sets of "facts."

 

I do think we should all be partaking of different news and getting differing POV, but this is hard too; it's difficult to allow enough time to get one story three ways. And discussing with other people can turn ugly at the drop of a hat and then it's just sort of miserable to be around the people who just had a flame war opinion on FB. Also, just because Person A is discussing a subject well and without getting his or her panties in a bunch, doesn't mean Person B or Person C is going to "do" the conversation well. You can't have a meaningful discussion if one person is flouncing off in a huff and another is hurling political insults.

 

I'm a bit depressed about it.

All good points, I see the same.

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I think the only thing that might bring people together is some sort of big national emergency of some sort, where it became an "us vs. them" situation because we would all share a common goal.

 

Obviously, I don't want to see anything like that happen, though.

The scary thing is a mass scale disaster like this can be used to get people behind measures they don't usually support. Which are then in place forever..

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The scary thing is a mass scale disaster like this can be used to get people behind measures they don't usually support. Which are then in place forever..

True, like surveillance that we used to believe was too invasive.

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I don't think that's really any different though than our nation's history has ever been. 

 

I think it's also important to remember there are 300 million people in our country.  That's a lot of people.  Of COURSE there will be irreconcilable differences. 

 

What's different now (with the exception of Civil War lead up and times) is that people used to agree on tact - saying things nicely, not openly putting others down.  It didn't always happen as humans are humans but it was wrong when it occurred. The majority agreed on that.

 

Now "say what's on your mind however you want to say it" is expected.  It's what's being modeled and promoted, and that is what is leading to polarization to the extremes.  There's a reason tact was invented - to prevent fights/wars and help us all get along with our differences of opinion.

 

I blame the internet - so easy to do on there and so easy to send it everywhere.  In the old days most idiots ranted to the local paper.  Everyone knew they were idiots and dismissed them or there were local fistfights if someone was insulted - all local news.  Now comments are out for the whole world to see in every venue and pure hatred (on both sides) increases.  Fake news adds fuel to the fire.  It's not slanted.  It's fake - cause slanted isn't enough anymore.

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True, like surveillance that we used to believe was too invasive.

I agree, after 9/11 we willingly gave up many liberties in exchange for the illusion of security. We're in more danger of handing over the keys than we are of direct attack on our soil.

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We are more stratified than we've ever been. One side is panicking because factors seem to be pointing to the looming end of civilization and the other side is laughing at their distress. How do you reconcile that?

 

It's incredibly difficult. Trying NOT to be political in my response here.

 

To be fair, in my experience that particular dynamic is not restricted to one side or the other. Both sides on many issues do and have done their share of mocking the concerns and worries of others.

 

Personally, I find it disheartening that some of those I know IRL and in the public eye who are distressed (and I don't deny they are) are some of the same people who sneered when the other side was in a similar position.

 

The people on the other side that I know IRL and in the public eye who so recently were genuinely frightened now seem to have conveniently forgotten what it feels like to shoulder that kind of worry.

 

And so it goes. If people could stop being jerks when the shoe is on the other foot, there might be a chance of some real communication. I want to understand the other side. I want the sides to meet in the middle. I don't see much chance of that happening on any issue right now.

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Social media is a bloodbath but really, most people are reasonable in real life, I think.

Good point. It always feels like we are all against each other, and then I go out running errands in my multi-ethnic, multi-philosophy area, and people are generally nice and friendly. No matter the ethnicity, no matter the political party, no matter the socio-economic status. Sometimes I go out, and I'm just amazed at how polite everyone is and how well everyone gets along because when I read the news or get on Facebook or the forums, we all seem so polarized.

 

I know I am a happier person when I stay away from media. Maybe that is the key to feeling content and secure once again. I can't decide. LOL. Maybe it's the key to being uninformed and smacked by a raging tide, too.

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I'm sorry about the issues you are facing in the US. Please stop walking across the boarder into Canada, though. It's no better here, AT ALL. Seriously. Love you all, but we can't afford refugees from the US.

Why not? You are a rich nation.

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I'm sorry about the issues you are facing in the US. Please stop walking across the boarder into Canada, though. It's no better here, AT ALL. Seriously. Love you all, but we can't afford refugees from the US. 

 

Are US refugees more expensive?  :laugh:

 

But yeah, I do not imagine Canada is radically different. 

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Why not? You are a rich nation.

 

I'm not supposed to get into politics, but maybe taxes don't count. Justin is taxing all the rich 1% of Canadians. That eliminate any rich Canadians that we might of had. ;)

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It's incredibly difficult. Trying NOT to be political in my response here.

 

To be fair, in my experience that particular dynamic is not restricted to one side or the other. Both sides on many issues do and have done their share of mocking the concerns and worries of others.

 

Personally, I find it disheartening that some of those I know IRL and in the public eye who are distressed (and I don't deny they are) are some of the same people who sneered when the other side was in a similar position.

 

The people on the other side that I know IRL and in the public eye who so recently were genuinely frightened now seem to have conveniently forgotten what it feels like to shoulder that kind of worry.

 

And so it goes. If people could stop being jerks when the shoe is on the other foot, there might be a chance of some real communication. I want to understand the other side. I want the sides to meet in the middle. I don't see much chance of that happening on any issue right now.

No, I remember. The difference is, this time the worries aren't abstract maybes. It's hard to be specific here, but today's worries are less local and personal and more worldwide and existential in scale. We're watching as they are coming to pass at a dizzying rate in real time.

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I find myself struggling with these questions as well. There are definitely people that I just avoid talking to because I don't want to argue. And, yet I feel guilty even for that because it is a luxury of my status and relative affluence to be able to ignore or tune out some of these struggles. 

 

The one thing that makes me slightly more optimistic is that there is far less disagreement than our media and the structure of our institutions would have us believe. There is actually vast and growing agreement among a significant majority of the population on a number of important issues including civil rights, climate change, health care, abortion rights etc. The bifurcation of media sources makes it seem like we are all divided, but many more of us actually agree (even people who think they disagree actually agree when you can strip the issues from their political attachments - good pollsters work very hard at figuring out how to do this). 

 

The question is can we find ways to amplify the agreements and minimize the disagreements. Right now our institutions seem to do the opposite.

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The first problem is that all the values seem to come in packages (package a or package b) which doesn't seem to make any sense. Are people really that simple? I would think that there are people who are pro-NRA and Pro-Choice or against refugees but for universal health care or whatever (the examples are just to illustrate what I mean not to blame anyone). But people can't just make choices for each of the topics on their own but have to take the whole package it seems. So everyone focuses on a couple that they feel are most important and ignores the rest. I guess the philosophical/value differences are such that most people would kind of align with one or the other but there would probably be more agreement if you took each of the areas separately.

 

I think a second problem is that people are not more pragmatic. It seems there are two camps (and they are pretty much evenly split)with completely different values and each insists that their opinions etc. are the right ones. Sometimes, this leads to "alternative facts". But then many seem to be too optimistic about human nature. Sure it would be great if everyone valued all religions, helped the poor, wanted equal rights for everyone etc. (and I do think we should aspire to this) BUT unfortunately that doesn't seem to be the reality. I think people have to start from where we are at not where we would like to be and people will have to make some unpleasant compromises.

 

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem that many want to do so...

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