by JOHN CASHON
In my neck of the woods, if I believed that I could not be friends with any Republican because of their beliefs, then I would have no friends. Friends that shared adventures with me, shared their stories with me, and most importantly, their time. Friends that were there for me when I needed them most, which I still do sometimes. How could I ever think that way?
Reading the comments on local news boards throwing hyperbole and hate at each other, like a messy food fight where everything is rotten, and seeing all the people fussing at each other on television with nothing to show for it and being resolved, I can see how one could believe an answer can never be found. An endless game that continues to bring ever increasing profits to the media outlets. In other words, it's big business.
Hostile crowds scream and protest the other sides values, demonizing them to the electorate and trying to show their lack of patriotism and morals, while questioning their need to have a voice altogether. Family members grow bitter towards each other and co-workers ostracize opposing viewpoints. A nationwide intervention is needed to reduce this division and hate.
All the while, everyone is forgetting those times in our nation's history where we stood together or died fighting for our freedoms. Bigger issues were dealt with in the spirit of unity and community, and where great events were shared by a proud nation, when everyone remembered that most important lesson of all, we were all Americans.
It goes on and on daily if you have the stomach to watch, but the drumbeat continues showing only the differences and conflict. There comes a time when the game will have to be exposed and for everyone to just take a breath and relax for a second. If it seems bad now, it was probably worse at another time in our history, even though one politician or another would tell you differently.
Watching politics today is like following the intrigue of the 'Game of Thrones' on HBO. The tactics and strategy overwhelm every thought of every player in the grand campaign of our political institutions. It consumes morals and good will to each other, eliminating the common bond that holds our communities and nation together. In today's political climate, it is the game that counts the most and not the people, and Machiavelli would feel right at home.
A game that draws fans to both sides and appears to be fun for a time while venting differences at each other and winning or losing debates. Most debates continue on and on without one side or the other able to land that final rebuttal that will quiet them into agreeing. At some point, the debate has to end and compromise begin. When we cannot come together in our own communities, how can we expect our politicians to do the same for the purpose of governing?
It appears the politicians have watched and learned that when the tempers flare and partisan rhetoric flows, it is easier for them to continue with their need to win the ultimate battle. Stoking the fires within their base by creating a fear of the other side winning, so visceral, that the only answer is the complete destruction of the other political party. This is the goal that is most highly prized. Complete power of one party in the government institutions.
Moderate voices from both parties have lost the ability to appeal for reasonable debate using common sense and compromise, but the extremes have decided that it would be much easier to use their influence and money to remove those moderate voices from the argument.
I hear this anger directed at me where, in the past, it did not exist, and I see the distrust in their eyes. Gone are the days when my political views were tolerated and the conversations were a good-natured banter, but I have faith this will be only a short-lived period of disagreement. Our country has had plenty of times when events caused ripples in the water of the pond, but, with patience, the water has always calmed, over time.
I am a liberal dissident in Republican lands, but I have learned to accept the fact that most of my friends are Republicans in my community, and I wouldn't change a thing. I am proud to call them my friends and perhaps that is what our country needs the most, patience for each other and possibly, a pride in the fact that we are all Americans even if we do have differences.