Throughout my life, I’ve found it curious when people would state unequivocally that we simply could not discuss politics and religion in public.
When American culture agreed to this pact, our society and country suffered for it. There should be no reason we cannot discuss issues important to the lives of our families, communities and country without it descending into a disrespectful shouting match.
If something isn’t working out for the best interests of most people, I’ve simply been unable to remain on the sidelines accepting that failing status quo.
This is why I so often have stood up, said and done what I felt was necessary, especially when it came to the intersection of politics and religion. Growing up in the Midwest and rural America, there is no escaping either.
Since I was young, I’ve seen one party take over this region while the other appeared to walkaway.
Due to the erosion in how both politics and religion are discussed, sustained progress in tackling our toughest challenges has become nearly impossible.
Why is it that the most crucial issues are often championed by the most polarizing figures in America and often in the most divisive ways?
Who wants to get behind a candidate that is for a comprehensive set of solutions to address this complex array of problems?
It’s far easier to use simplistic talking points designed to gain attention instead of practical, pragmatic messages.
Social issues are complex and often are used to keep voting blocks coming back to political parties. They do this with little regard to local economic issues nor the willingness to discuss the negative consequences on public health and wellbeing by pushing this monolithic social agenda.
Who wants to hear a nuanced position on key issues that inspire intense emotional reactions in order to have a discussion about how to produce beneficial results for community and family?
It’s far easier to force people into choosing to be against someone so they don’t feel they have any other alternatives.
This is why many special interest groups create political candidate questionnaires that are devoid of nuance and designed to focus voters in the ‘for or against’ paradigm.
Over my lifetime, I’ve been blessed to have many discussions with others about both politics and religion. It’s actually a pleasure to listen to someone with a different perspective. I’ve always been skeptical of “Yes” people. No one can really agree on everything.
That’s why the way in which some on the far left behave is so counterproductive. There’s no room to have a vigorous and thoughtful discussion on any issue.
You see similar behavior on the far right, which has nearly engulfed the entire Republican Party.
I’ve watched AOC celebrate ending 25,000 jobs, which is painful while longtime Republicans have backpedaled on American tradition and our U.S. Constitution, all for the sake of political expedience in support of President Trump and their own re-election.
The vast majority of people aren’t in the extreme wings of either political party. They stay mostly silent because to speak up means to become the new target of one or both extremes.
Each election cycle the party in power will try and pit the other as the most radical and extreme as to sway those in the middle that their side is with them.
This is why Republicans will focus on socialism and abortion rights through 2020 to keep their voters and independents from seeing Democrats as a reasonable alternative.
Wouldn’t it be far better to have an election based on what candidates want to do if elected instead of one based on fear and anxiety?
If we’re ever able to move this country forward for all her people, we have to be able to discuss the issues that matter to each of us in a realistic way.
It might not be something we’re accustomed to doing, but it is something we need to become comfortable in doing for the sake of the country, our communities and our families.