While it may be difficult to change the world,
it is always possible to change
the way we look at it.
~ Matthieu Ricard
What does the left and right of politics have to do with The Red Kimono? It’s just one more area where we judge each other. Where our lack of communication damages us and our country. Where we hold prejudices no different from those prejudices based on color, religion or sexual orientation.
Most of our nerves are a bit raw and frazzled following the election, whether “our” person won or not. Anyone who knows me know that “my” candidate did not win. But, following a few hours of disappointment (how could I not be — the media portrays it like the Super Bowl), I decided to move on, let go and wish our President the best. And I mean that. No, I don’t agree with many of his policies, but I want President Obama to be a successful president — for himself and our country.
Though I’ve felt at peace about it, recently something happened that got my blood boiling again. I was “shut down” for my opinions. It’s happened to me many times before, and because I will do anything to avoid conflict, I usually grit my teeth and get past it. But this last time it happened, after I sat for awhile and listened to the “other side” express their opinions about “my side,” I had to stand up and express my own opinion.
As soon as I did, I was “shut down,” when one person in the conversation stated, “Okay, time to stop talking politics.”
Huh? All I did was express my opinion, and because it was opposed to the other opinions expressed, it was time to stop talking about it? At that point, for some reason, I realized how often this has happened to me.
And no, I don’t claim that it only happens to “my side.” I know it happens on both sides. So my point in writing this post is to say, it has to stop.
I have no problem at all if someone’s opinions–about anything–differ from mine. In fact, I enjoy a debate about it. I often learn something new. What I don’t like is when someone thinks that because I think differently, I don’t have a right to speak about it, or I’m stupid or “less evolved” for thinking the way I do. We can learn something from our differences.
One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard about our government is that the two parties can’t work together and therefore nothing is getting done. Meanwhile, we’re about to fall over a fiscal cliff. It’s no wonder. Congress represents us, and yet we can’t communicate respectfully. Why should they? In my humble opinion, we can hardly demand they do so if we don’t.
There’s no denying that in the boxing ring of politics, there’s a Left and there’s a Right. I won’t say my views fall in the middle of the above diagram, but I certainly hope I can listen from the middle. The only way we’ll solve any of our problems is to come out of our safe, comfortable corners and listen to each other instead of throwing punches.