I’ve witnessed many political arguments, both in person and in cyberspace, and to be honest, I have been a part of them, too. I really hate conflict, but there have been times I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut, or my fingers still. The one thing I have taken away from these interactions is that the problem is bigger than the things people are so focused on.
Democrats or Republicans, straight couples or gay couples, rich people or poor people did not cause the problems in our country. Narrow thinking is at fault. Most people literally think “inside the box.” We place each other in little boxes, and we focus on our differences rather than our similarities.
We stopped relating to each other as people. Instead, we think of each other as members of a group. We say things like, “Well, he’s Republican, so we can’t expect him to understand.” Or, “She’s not a Christian, so she has no moral compass.” Boxes. Little Boxes. And our box is always BETTER than anyone else’s box. We are right; they are wrong. That way of thinking is the only thing that is wrong.
Americans, along with many people in the world are taught to be fiercely competitive. From an early age, kids are encouraged to be on sports teams and to “beat” the other team. Kids who are not interested in sports, or some other competitive activity are odd, or weird, or lazy. Non-competitive people are losers. So, it is no surprise that box thinking is so common. Our boxes are inherited. They may be slightly renovated, but they are still boxes.
So, how do we solve this? Easy. We tear down the boxes. We start LISTENING to each other, and ASKING questions instead of judging a person by their assumed group. We can stop being Democrats or Republicans or Libertarians. We can just be people who want to live long, healthy, relatively pain-free, happy lives. We can be people who focus on the similarities, rather than the differences. It would require less energy to get along than to constantly argue.