I’ve been thinking a lot recently… okay, I think a lot normally… but my mind has been troubled by the growing hatred in America. I’m not sure when it started, but somewhere in the past 30 years we’ve reached a point where we are a very polarized country where we just can’t seem to talk about issues. I see symptoms everywhere: generation gaps, workplace feuds, political firepots, divorce trends, suicidal bullying, and the list goes on and on.
Related to the upcoming presidential election, I typically see one of two actions on social media sites: attack or avoid. Anyone and everyone who sides with the views of the opposing camp is treated like an enemy, a subverter who cannot be trusted. Or maybe we like the person but just can discuss certain issues with them so we can keep everything at a “nice” level.
The problem with avoiding the issues is that they never get resolved, and going into fight or flight mode distances us from others. I imagine that prior to America’s civil war, the country stopped the dialogue, retreating into safe havens where hateful words could be uttered about the northern federalist tyrants and southern slave owners. Both sides had moral reasons behind their actions and both sides failed to work out the issues even after the war was over. I am grateful that slavery was ended, and I am saddened that it ever happened in this country, but what if the country had dialogued to find solutions? White oppression continued long after the Civil War and racial tensions still exist.
Are we so different today? Global warming, Illegal Immigration, Healthcare, and Presidential Candidates are topics that send people into fight or flight mode almost immediately. Sadly, I hear way too many opinions and far too few facts. I hear about how the other side is lying. But if we are brave enough to take the third option (no attack, no avoidance), we dialogue about the issues, decomposing as necessary to find what we can agree upon. My concern is that we are headed toward an unhealthy confrontation. America is in need of some healthy dialogue.
copyright ©2012 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/)