We are a world filled with opinions and this alone is not the problem. The problem is that we have also become a world that is less and less willing to compromise, be open-minded, and be respectful in our communications of those opinions.
When we take one example, that of the political system in the U.S. which is dominated by two parties, the Republicans and Democrats, we see a prime example of the deterioration of communication and compromise. My first thought is that there are well over 300 million people in the U.S., how in the world can we live in a two party system? That would imply that a vast majority subscribe to the beliefs of one of those parties, which, if we were to break things down…there actually aren’t that many people that subscribe to most or all of the beliefs of a single party.
Let’s say that I’m wrong on that though, my second point is that it’s quite obvious why nothing gets fixed in this country; the constant power grab, lack of compromise, endless bickering, finger pointing, greed, and stubbornness prevent any forward motion. When was the last time you ran a business, were in a marriage, or in a friendship and used any of those issues listed in the previous sentence and things were thriving? Right…never.
The third issue is the media. I wish there was a way for all of us to boycott all the major players (NBC, Fox, CBS, CNN, ABC, print media, etc.) but it can’t happen and won’t happen because there is a large group of people among us that believe one of the aforementioned news outlets as if they were the gospel. I hate to burst your bubbly, but none of the media I mentioned above are telling us the complete truth, they are each bias toward their own end game and to some degree.
I’m not sure if it’s fear or ignorance that keeps us from moving forward. Quite possibly it’s a combination of the two. Even those among us that think we have our head on straight need to be open-minded to new thoughts and ideas. The point is, how do we expect to fix things like the economy, water issues, drugs, crime, foreign policy, disease, and most important our education problem without coming together and compromising? Seriously…what other option do we have? Do we just wait things out until they improve on their own? Do we sit and marinate in apathy? Do we bitch and complain and do nothing? Do we continue the avenue of greed and stubbornness and hope that will one day work to make positive change?
We hear the cries for change every single day. We see that change is needed all around us and in the research and studies that come out showing where the United States is placing in areas like math and science. We see the faces shrouded in anguish, worry, concern, fear, and despair everyday…from the homeless guy in the parking lot to the parents that don’t know how they will pay the next mortgage payment in order to keep a roof of their children’s heads.
Americans sweep this under the rug.
I’m guilty of this too, but I’m tired of sweeping it under the rug and going on with my cozy existence with an “it doesn’t affect me” attitude. I don’t know what the answer is. I don’t know what the first step is. I don’t know where to begin or where to turn. I feel guilty. I feel anger, fear, and amazing positivity all at the same time…but still I do nothing.
I don’t know what will spark the change we need but I certainly know it won’t come from the politicians in Sacramento or the ones hanging out in Washington D.C. Can we do this without them? Can we do this despite them? Can we come together long enough to avoid the dead end they have us hurdling down?
I don’t know…but I can say it’s worth speaking up and having the conversation. If you don’t believe in abortion and I do there has to be some way we can compromise rather than just continue the perpetual, never ending argument. If you believe in gun control and I don’t there has to be a way to resolve that issue so both of us get a little bit of what we want and sacrifice a little bit too. This is how relationships work, and this is how solving these problems should work. I’m willing to have this discussion and I’m willing to meet you in the middle because the middle is where good shit actually happens.
We have to be able to get over ourselves…if someone claims to be a Democrat and a Christian that does not mean they are right. The same is true if someone says they are a Mormon, a Baptist, Jewish, Republican, or graduated from Yale or Harvard. No title we carry from accomplishment or that we simply claim to be is the automatic equivalent to “being right”. Each and every one of us is a flawed human being, some more flawed than other and some that are flawed to the point of no return but if we maintain that our viewpoint or our religion or the college we graduated from or the color of my skin is the one and only “right”…we’re screwed.
There’s room at the table for Christian, Muslims, and atheists. There’s room at the table for men and women and people of all colors. You see, this isn’t about any of those things…this is about coming together as a community for the greater good, not to force our religion or our will on others. It is to look for the best possible solution to the problems that arise. We won’t always agree and we may not always like each other, but there is a purpose greater than us as individuals…the community.
How do we change the dialogue? How do we change the conversation from blame to understanding? How do we change the point of view from what is best for me to what is best for my community of fellow human beings? When do we rise above all the drama and all the delusions that we think we have all the right answers? When can we admit that we screwed up and let go of the past in order to move toward a better future?
None of this is up to divine intervention or some far off day long from now…this is a real and conscious decision that we can make and start acting toward. It’s up to us…let’s start the conversation and be a little bit more open minded and compassionate…you might just be amazed at the places we could go!
Felice Linder says
Using social media to heal our fractured society is a great idea, but as of yet, it seems to have only cemented people deeper into their opinions. The most important thing social media can do is bring back FACTS. You can’t change people’s opinions, but we have to at least try to make everyone acknowledge that there are facts. Facts do exist and are not open to debate from any perspective. Somehow, this seems to have been lost.
People choose whether to believe the scientists about global warming, accepting as real only those facts that support their already held opinion. People seem completely comfortable with Romney’s endless lies because his fake facts match up with their beliefs. As soon as Obama’s facts stray even slightly from held beliefs, they cease to be facts; they are the opposition making stuff up. And yes, journalism in America has abandoned its duty to the public entirely.
Working together to compromise on any issue can only happen when we all can acknowledge the FACTS about an issue. And they do exist. They’re just lost in a sea of opinions that pretend to be facts.
I disgaree that there are always facts. Some things go down to one’s own belief. Is abortion ok? That’s up to opinion not fact. How about the death penalty? That too is up to opinion. How do we fix the drug or crime problem? That’s up to opinion, there is not only one correct way. As for Romney and Obama…they are both part of the system, neither are telling us the truth and it’s not completely their fault. The political system in the U.S., and around the world, is corrupt. And here in the U.S. the political system is much bigger than the person we call president. We need change from the top down in our government.