Red or Blue?

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“Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate” is a well-known quote I largely believe in as a practice. (As a person who seems to be missing the chromosomes that can produce hate, I don’t see why we can’t just stop at the love part.)

This aphorism comes to mind when I hear people talking about politics. I disagree with the age-old rule that leads many families and friends to altogether refrain from talking about politics or religion at all. This is absurd to me. Refraining from communication is never the answer and makes situations and relationships worse, in my opinion. I think we should put more focus and effort in not even being tolerant (tolerance seems negative, neutral at best) but simply being mature and rational-minded and emotionally-composed enough to have necessary, much-needed civilized discussions. I mean, what could be more important than these topics? They are the very essence of our nation’s creation.

I strongly believe we are each not only entitled to our individual beliefs and thoughts and aspirations but we should be free to fearlessly share them out loud and pursue them (if they do not harm others). To each their own. I teach argument writing as an English teacher. It is necessary to refute the other side’s claims, but we seem to have eliminated the concession part in daily practice. When I teach it, I call this part the manners. To argue effectively (a healthy and necessary practice), you simply must give a little, find and acknowledge and admit any commonalities, truths, or partial truths, from the other. If you can’t accept any part or grant one single point to the other side, then you are not capable of effectively communicating. We are humans, we are citizens. We have commonalities that can unite. We must start there.

What turns me off immediately in the “discussions” we attempt to have in politics is our immediate attacks of the other side as a side in itself. I despise bi-partisanship. Pick a side, align with one or the other, where does your allegiance lie? Right or Left? Conservative or Liberal? Republican or Democratic? Red or Blue? Sounds a lot like the parts of history we should have learned from by now. Will our country fully dissolve and become two? I wish we were not bi, not halved, not divided. I wish we were all different yet united.

We founded our country with the right idea. Freedom. Inalienable rights. God. We have never done it perfectly. We never will. Because we are human. But we should really be on the same side. As patriots. As Americans. A melting pot of red, white, and blue. Of every skin hue. Of every religious creed.

Speak to me of what you desire to see in our country moving forward. But if I can tell what side you’re on, I must turn a deaf ear, rare for me. For I am not enlisting in a civil war. Just patriotically promote what you love. Don’t bash the side you hate. We need to transform the bi- to uni-. It’s not too late. I love my country. You do, too? Great! Let’s work together to best govern ourselves.

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