We are moving father and farther away from civil discourse in the country. At no time is that more painfully obvious than election season. This year has been particularly distasteful, to say the least.
Unfortunately the widespread hate, vitriol and intolerance will not end on Election Day. In fact, that will likely be the beginning of a whole new era of ugliness and discord, regardless of who wins.
Does it have to be this way? Can we ever learn to respectfully agree to disagree? Can we discuss our differences in a civil manner and work to understand one another?
It is possible. I know from experience.
I have a very diverse group of friends. Always have. And during this election season, I have been struck by just how divergent they really are. My friends are spread across the political spectrum.
I try to learn from the people I know, to understand their perspective. And I welcome the opportunity to expand my own. It is something I truly value. I respect different opinions and beliefs, and look to my friends to do the same.
The same applies to family.
My husband and I have different views on a number of issues. One in particular causes us to have regular discussions, most of which frustrate the living daylights out of me. I often find it difficult to remain cool and collected, or even to share my opinion in a coherent way.
I have been known to scream, "How can you possibly believe that?" And on more than one occasion I have told him, "Your argument makes no sense to me." But I do try to understand where he is coming from. And vice verse.
We do not call each other names. Or use hateful language. We do not insist on being "right," or attempt to change one another's minds. We simply work to articulate why we each feel/believe/think the way we do.
Sometimes we vote differently in elections, sometimes alike. In the case of the former, we have joked our votes cancelled one another out. But that is not the right way to look at it. Because each of our votes count.
And so does yours.
I don't ever write about politics, and I hesitated to do so here, on this blog. But The Mom Pledge Community member Amie reminded me a few days ago that the principles of The Mom Pledge can - and she argues should - be applied to the election.
She has made a few minor changes to create The Proud to be an American Pledge. Once this election is over, let us strive to avoid bitterness and finger pointing and blame. Just as our politicians need to work together to move our country forward, regardless of the outcome, so too do we.
Because when everyone is shouting, no one can truly listen.