I read an article this morning about how Bernie Sanders was booed by a bunch of Democrats because he hedged when asked when he planned to come out and fully support Hillary Clinton. Commenters were up in arms that anyone dare boo their candidate of choice because how dare they?
Let me get this part out of the way first: I support Bernie Sanders. He has enough delegates to go the the Democratic Convention later this month and demonstrate to all of America just how important his message is. I applaud him for sticking to it and taking his supporters all the way to Philadelphia. I don’t know the guy personally, so I don’t know if its just part of his mystique or a real part of his core (I prefer to believe the later), but that he won’t back down from a tough fight is one of the traits I most admire.
My bigger point, in writing today, is to ask how have we become a nation that won’t tolerate dissent? How can we suddenly not stomach disagreement and wildly different ideas in this great big country of ours? I guess its not so sudden, really. I mean, four years ago I had a so-called friend tell me I should jump off the tallest building I could find because we were arguing over welfare policy. If you must know, I argued my point, he had no good counter argument, so instead of conceding, he thought I should inflict bodily harm upon myself. Some friend, huh? But I digress.
We live in a gigantic country. Google just told me it’s 3.806 million mi² to be exact. WOW. But, really, in all that space, we can’t eek out a corner for everyone to have their own opinion? And more importantly, we can’t give each other space to hold our competing ideals tightly against our chests? In my mind, a strong democracy is one where citizens who have distinctly different ideas will fight tooth and nail to find common ground and finally COME TOGETHER as one.
Anymore, we stop at the fighting part. How is that? Why?
If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say it’s because the drama is in the fighting. Have you ever met a couple who fights constantly and seem to enjoy their relationship solely because they love the drama of fighting? I sure have and I gotta say I hate being around those people.
I’m definitely a peacenik. If I had my way we’d argue quickly and civilly and come to an agreement that suits everyone enough to create as much contentment as possible. Of course, nobody’d want to watch that on prime time TV. Plus, I understand that in politics especially, a lot of folks want to throw their chests out and make a big show of what they think. I’m always up for a good debate, but how about we lay out some ground rules? Because, honestly? Capitol Hill looks like a playground with an absent playground monitor most days. Which is pitiful because these are the people we’ve hired to take care of the business of running our country.
So how about those ground rules?
If you got through that list, you might recognize it as a list of how to argue successfully in a relationship. Of course politics is about relationship. And we NEED to stop with the hate and the contention and the love of the drama because as an American, I don’t want to be a laughing stock on the world stage. I want to be proud of us. I want us to reach for our very highest ideals and quit with the hate and pandering to the ugliest parts of the human psyche.
And that, dear friends, is all I’m gonna say about that.