The other day I stumbled across an entirely ignorant and inflammatory post by Ann Coulter on Facebook about hating soccer. Rush Limbaugh does this type of idiotic thing all of the time. We’ve seen similarly ignorant and distasteful thoughts spew from the mouths of Bill Maher and Chris Matthews in the past.
These people are entertainers, hungry for attention, but, they disguise themselves as political commentators, and they are having a major negative impact on our country.
I typically avoid talking about politics. Today’s American politics are divisive and poisonous. They pull people apart – not together. I don’t want anything to do with that.
But I’m scared.
Ever heard the phrase “divide and conquer”? Yup, that’s what’s happening. America is tanking. We are totally divided and we’re about to be conquered.
This is not the fault of one party or the other. It’s a failure of leadership on both sides and it’s a result of having sides.
The American culture has shifted from a collection of diverse people working together to find common ground and build a great country to one where political pundits have been able to create gross generalities and polarize the people into two camps. These pundits are power-hungry, media-savvy ideologues working hard to force people into one camp or another.
Take me as an example. Other than once in my life, when I supported a friend running for Congress (a decision that few know about, and I came to regret fairly quickly as it exposed me firsthand to the poison of the two-party system), I’ve fallen quite silent on my own political persuasion. Yet, most people “assume” that I am a right-wing radical because of my commitment to my faith and certain moral convictions.
Nothing could be further from the truth. I remember debating for hours with a friend about whether we should invade Iraq. I was staunchly against it, for multiple reasons, even before it was proven that the WMD claims were inaccurate. Those who assume I’m a right-winger probably “know” the opposite about me. Sorry to burst your bubble.
The two-party system has shaped our culture to the extent that we “paint” people red or blue simply based on one, two, or three core issues.
If we are going to reclaim our country and strengthen its resolve, we need to eliminate the division that exists.
Here are four actions the typical American – regardless of your political persuasion – can take in order to help reclaim the “United” States of America.
Ignore the extreme pundits.
The Ann Coulters, Bill Mahers, Chris Matthews, and Rush Limbaughs of the world divide us, they don’t bring us together.
Real leaders address issues head-on in a respectful manner. They listen to those with different opinions and try to find common ground. While they may not always agree, they don’t fan the flame of hate. These entertainers do, and we are making them more powerful by giving them our attention and our money.
Stop the madness.
Don’t lump people into gross generalities.
Give them an opportunity to speak for themselves and look for common ground with their viewpoints.
Just because someone is pro-life, doesn’t mean they are sympathetic to the Republican agenda. Just because they are anti-war doesn’t mean that they are wildly liberal.
Don’t give in to the pressure to paint people as either Republican or Democrat. Allow them to be an individual and respect them for their views.
Resist the temptation to “bash” one side of the aisle or another.
Stop liking and reposting the inflammatory Facebook posts, tweets, and infographics. While many of them, from both sides of the aisle, are based on truth, so many of them are intended to infuriate a constituency instead of bringing people together.
Vote for principled leadership, not a certain party and political activism.
Find individuals you respect and vote for their ability to lead. The next President doesn’t need to know everything about foreign affairs or domestic policy, s/he needs to know how to build a team, listen to constituents, lead the country, and make hard decisions.
We get too caught up on this big-ticket issue or that political controversy. Identify leaders whose principles, integrity, and leadership philosophy you agree with and vote for them.
Let’s get America back on track. Let’s put a little unity back in the United States of America.