Why does every controversy, every scandal, and every news headline divide our country in half?
A TALE OF TWO SIDES
- Syria (…or any other possible military strike)
- Gay rights
- The economy
THREE CASE STUDIES
- Pro-Wendy – Finally, someone making a stand for women’s health and her control of her own body
The Spin – These religious nut tea-baggers are waging a war against women.
- Anti-Wendy – We’re defending the unborn, and these new restrictions promote women’s health by requiring abortion providers to meet a higher standard.
The Spin – This abortion barbie just wants to kill babies. Late-term abortions are barbaric. Who would want to do that?
- Anti-Mark – Driscoll stole intellectual property, and when he was called on it, he became rude and condescending live on the radio. He then used his power to bully his accuser into submitting.
The Spin – Driscoll is a thief, a jerk, and a bully. He’s leading some sort of Christian mafia who suppresses anyone trying to hold him accountable.
- Pro-Mark – Driscoll was blindsided during an interview with accusations of plagiarism. The interviewer was biligerent and obviously looking to pick fight. When you look at the details, this was clearly just a a case of sloppy or lazy footnoting.
The Spin – The hostess was looking for a scandal that wasn’t there, and she started a witch hunt for no reason other than to drive up her numbers. She had him on the show under false pretenses. Of course Driscoll and Tyndale pressured her for an apology.
- Anti-Phil – He’s a vile, homophobic, hate-filled redneck who faced the consequences of his offensive, bigoted beliefs.
The Spin: This homophobic bigot thinks all homosexuals are going straight to Hell.
- Pro-Phil – He’s being persecuted for stating his religious beliefs
The Spin: The media’s message is clear: the only thing it’s ok to be intolerant of is intolerance. (I think I know someone who wrote a blog about that)
HOW TO DISAGREE WHILE KEEPING UNIFIED
I’m going to throw out an idea which isn’t all that extreme, but that would transform the caustic climate in our nation. If people applied this idea just to politics, we would pass a budget, obstructionism would end, and we wouldn’t need government shut downs and sequesters. This principle won’t cause us to agree or resolve all tension, but we would start to make progress.
Here’s my revolutionary idea:
Treat people with whom you disagree with the same level of trust you give to those with whom you agree
Treat people with whom you agree that behave suspiciously with the same scrutiny you treat those with whom you disagree.
If someone behaves in a trust-worthy manner, trust them. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean they are untrustworthy. Give those who disagree with you the same benefit of the doubt that you give those who agree with you. Likewise, agreeing with you isn’t an out for behaving in a shady manner.
- What if Republicans didn’t just view Democrats as trying to buy votes from the poor by promising them entitlements, health care, and birth control…
- What if LGBT community didn’t view Christians as just trying to steal their happiness and freedoms…
- What if the pro-choice side didn’t think the pro-life side’s agenda was trying to control women’s bodies…
- What if the pro-life side didn’t think the pro-choice side was pro-abortion…
What if we all stopped creating motives in our minds for why those we disagree with are doing what they’re doing, and started to understand their motivations based on what they’re actually saying…
What if we started to listen to each other?
If you liked this blog, here is another blog where I discussed similar ideas: