Tuesday, October 9, 2018

12 Things Republicans and Democrats Agree On

Politics in America according to social media is nasty. We’re divided along party lines and there are a lot of angry people yelling at each other. You would think that there’s no way to bridge the divide, but all of us have friends who are on the other side. We may avoid certain conversations when we are with them, but somehow we get along. Why? If the other side is so bad, then how is it that our friends can’t see that? Could it be that the two sides agree on much more than they care to admit? Here are twelve things that Republicans and Democrats agree on.

  1. Mass murder is evil.
  2. A strong economy is good.
  3. Children should be protected.
  4. The strong should not be allowed to prey on the weak.
  5. Cops who break the law should be prosecuted.
  6. Skin color doesn’t make one person better than another.
  7. Protecting our environment is important.
  8. Non-citizen criminals should not be allowed into our country.
  9. Individuals should be able to express their opinion.
  10. The police have a responsibility to protect us.
  11. Teachers are important.
  12. People who work should be paid fairly.
I can already hear you thinking, “Yeah, but…” and it’s for that reason that I’ve left these unexplained. I challenge you to lay this list down beside the political platform of any candidate on either side and see how many you can find that they don’t agree with. Ask your friends if they agree with these. Don’t ask for an explanation, just yes or no, do they agree with these or not?

These are not unimportant issues. These are among the most important if not the most important issues that exist in our political debate. If we agree on the most important things then why are we so divided?

It goes something like this: I and my opponent have a common goal, but we disagree on how to achieve it. I can’t see how what my opponent wants to do will achieve the goal, so I assume that my opponent doesn’t want to achieve the same goal as me. Since my opponent doesn’t support what any good person would support then my opponent must be evil. Since my opponent is evil, no one should listen to what my opponent has to say. If they do then they are also evil.

A better approach is this: My opponent advocates something that I believe harms something good. I assume that my opponent doesn’t want to harm this thing, so my opponent either placed a greater priority on some other good thing or doesn’t have enough information to see how his position will do harm. Or it could be that I don’t have all of the information I need.

Given that we’re dealing with individuals, it’s quite possible that the person in question is acting out of evil intentions, but the general case is that those who disagree with us believe they are fighting the good fight. They believe they are fighting to protect the children or putting an end to mass murder or fighting for the oppressed. Telling them they are not (no matter how certain we are) will only make them angry. Instead, we should try to find out what it is they are fighting for. It is probably one of the twelve things in the list above. From there, we can try to show them a better way to achieve what they are trying to achieve. And the good thing is that it probably something that we also want to achieve.