Sorry for the hiatus. My family has had a pretty awful health emergency that we’re dealing with so I haven’t had time to sit down and write. However, I have had plenty of time to sit down and reflect. A lot of bad has happened for my family in the last ten days. But I’ve been taught to always try to learn from what has happened and glean something positive from it. So here’s what I have learned: Most people are good. So what is the point of making good people our “enemies”, even if they’re Republicans?
Let me explain further. My family has had encounters with countless doctors, nurses, technicians, friends, and other family members in the last ten days. You know what hasn’t come up once? Political affiliation. The doctors, nurses, and technicians have all been amazing. They have all been doing their jobs to the best of their abilities, showing tremendous care in the process, and not once have they demanded to know whether we’re playing for the same political teams. Maybe we’ve talked about how amazing Matt Damon’s Kavanaugh impersonation was, but that’s about the extent of it from what I can recall.
As for family and friends, yes, we have mostly Democrats in our circles; however, we also have Republican friends and family members as well. And you know what? They’ve all been there for us, Republicans and Democrats alike, despite some of our political differences and despite some heated political arguments some of us have had in the past, and we’ve had plenty. In fact, in the past my wife has had to give me pep talks on the way to some dinners reminding me not to engage in political arguments with so and so. They can get that bad. But none of that has mattered in the last ten days. Friends are friends, and family is family. They all care.
Today’s political environment is ugly. And yes, I do believe that Trump has plenty of racists, misogynists, sexists, anti-Semites, homophobic people, and the like among his supporters. It’s hard to ignore when someone like David Duke is shouting his approval of Trump. And no, I wouldn’t want to be friends with anyone like David Duke or any other KKK-type. However, not all Trump supporters fall into those categories. And not all Republicans are Trump supporters to begin with. We don’t really know people’s agendas until we stop to listen to them. And we don’t know what’s inside a person’s heart until we try to get to know them. You might find that a Trump supporter is a very nice person who just happens to have a completely different life experience. You might also find that we’re not all operating based upon the same sets of facts when we form our opinions.
Here’s what I can tell you though. People aren’t our enemies simply because they have differing views on the defense industry or because they may believe that socialized healthcare is a bad idea. People aren’t our enemies because they believe in a lower individual tax rate. And people aren’t our enemies just because they come from a different part of the country and have a different global outlook.
If you’ve read this space before, you know how fervently I argue against the Republican agenda. I think that the elected Republican officials have betrayed whole slews of society, including women, people of color, the poor, and many more. But does that mean that every registered Republican is anti-woman, anti-poor people, or has an agenda against people of color? Of course not. You have to remember that not every Democratic official in Washington is a saint either. Google Keith Ellison when you have a moment.
Our conversations need to become more nuanced with each other going forward. You’re not going to find nuance on the television and you’re sure as hell not going to find it in Washington. But you can find nuance with one another, if you’re willing to look for it. Have your political conversations, disagreements, and even arguments, but have them without the vitriol. Because when the chips are down, I can tell you that having friends and family there to support you is of the utmost importance. And I can promise you that you won’t care whether or not your doctor shares your political beliefs. Don’t sever relationships over entitlement cuts or the tax code. It’s not worth it. Most people are inherently good and good people are inherently our allies, not our enemies.