These days, each morning finds me rolling out of bed by 5:15 a.m., greeting the beautiful world, having a glass of water with my blood pressure pill, doing my 5-fold Namastes, dressing & heading out on a walk around the block. Haven't done my journaling yet, so thoughts flit through the old noggin more than if I had. So, welcome to my return to radical centristing, putting down mental meanders that joined me on my ramble.
Listening to Krista Tippett's Udemy class on The Art of Conversation, realize how much we have lost the grace of sharing opinions without coming to verbal blows. Especially when it comes to politics. While conservatives have, over the past 30+ years, consistently polled as wanting elected officials to stand true to their ideology, whatever the fall-out, ~and~ liberals/independents incline toward wanting theirs to practice the fine art of compromise essential to effective governance, the differences between the ideologies have become more pronounced over the past eight years. The liberal proclivity for conversation, debate & reasonable compromise took a major hit, as they faced an opposition that saw 11/04/08 - for whatever reason - as a call to combat the likes of which we haven't seen in my lifetime. That pissed off a lot of Dems, who then dug in their own heels leaving us with less-likely-to-listen-to-different-sides liberals.
The greatest danger, to me, falls on the right, on its utter devotion to THEIR beliefs, while shrouding different points of views & faiths in suspect creepy dangerous otherness.
On my walk, it hit me why a young friend insists most of her liberal friends openly don't believe in God. Thinking back to what she said, realized that she would consider ME among them, because I do not believe that Christians have a monopoly on faith. What did she think when I said that God is like a great ocean that laps up on many shores but is still One.
Years ago, a nephew & I shared our ideas of God - he insisted that people who did not hold the ONE true image of God (the one he held) were damned by their lack of true faith. To him, I did not believe in God.
The same might be true with my young friend - liberals don't hold faith in God because they don't hold faith in HER god. The GOP doesn't consider liberals to be patriotic because they don't hold THEIR point of view.
This core difference between the two parties - the one honoring diversity & the other sensing it as a direct threat to all they hold dear - became of fresh interest to me this weekend, viewing with horror the 2017 NRA "freedom's safest place" ad, which builds on last year's. In 2016, it warned the world's bad guys not to mess with real Americans; in 2017, they swapped in liberals as the bad guys out to destroy America, who would have to face the "clenched fist of truth."
Pardon me while I stop roaring with bitter laughter. The NRA stands 4-square with a president who doesn't know the difference between the truth & a self-serving falsehood. He says what to others would be considered a flagrant, flaming lie - he says it, then it's reported, he reads the report of his lie & believes it because it was on the news. And he isn't trying to jerk our chain - he really does believe whatever comes out of his mouth. He hasn't presented himself as any different. The first person the NRA should come after with its clenched fist of truth is POTUS!
"The clenched fist of truth" - reality check. Ideology, not truth, has a clenched fist. The NRA posted a picture of Rosie the Riveter as an example of their imagery - how pitiful. Clenched fist brings one thing to mind - anger, barely able to keep control, a desire to come out swinging. To a reasoned mind, it was not a call to arms; to an unreasonable one, whatever their personal ideology - YOUCH!
That openly-condemning-liberals NRA ad twinned with the president's "playful" video showing him body slamming CNN broadcasts a scary vibe across the land. Forget "stirring the pot" - the ad & the video set the burner on HIGH.
We cannot survive long as a country that cannot find common ground. Conservatives expect the Supreme Court to root out past rulings that opened the way to gay marriage, to increased suffrage across age gender race, what they consider licentious life styles. Everything liberals spent the past 50 years building, conservatives look forward to tearing down - in their mind, restoring a proper order to our nation. We are increasingly a house divided.
Today marks the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg, a timely reminder of what happens when the chasm between ideologies gets so great, the ability to have a helpful conversation becomes too mangled, the willingness to listen consider compromise disappears.