Peace, Love and Misunderstanding

One has only to watch the news to be given the impression that conflict is our natural state as a species. We are bombarded with stories of corruption, accusations, blatantly polemic debate and acts of wanton violence on a daily basis. Eventually we are saturated with fear and guard our hearts so closely, letting in only the familiar.
We watch those shows that confirm our distrust of the other, and read those pundits that reaffirm our righteousness. Living in echo chambers, listening only to those voices that sound like our own we become a group of bizarre, Escher-esque parrots, unable to recognize who even spoke the idea first. All that matters is we know what side we are on.
What if we were to decide we were not on a side though? What if we were just people, with different ideas who simply did not know where the other was coming from? Is an idea really worth anger? Is it really worth hate?
I suspect you know how I would answer this. Ideas, of course, are not worth hating someone else. It is okay to disagree. You are within your rights to stand your ground, even in the face of calm, well reasoned opposition, though I would advise against it. How much do you lose though, when you do not even listen to your ideological rivals?  We could learn so much from each other.
I would never suggest I am perfect in this regard. To be frank, I have often been one of the worst offenders of getting worked up over ideas. I would listen, consider and if I could find no common ground, I would get angry. Now, I am just tired. I am tired of being angry, and I am tired of watching my sisters and brothers in the human race get angry over ideas before they even consider what those ideas are.
So I am suggesting a do over. Let us begin to know each other again. Let us stop fighting over the “War on Christmas,”  “fascist plutocrats”, or “the culture wars.” Some time soon, why don’t we all have a good talk, and more importantly a good listen, to some one we don’t agree with. If nothing else do it so you can walk away, hold your head up high and say “I tried.” Then, go back, and try again.


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