It’s the most dramatic season of The White House Chronicles yet and nothing is off limits. Which Cabinet member will outlast all the others to become the Sole Survivor? Who can really Keep Up with AOC? What happens when 100 Senators stop being polite and start getting real?
Of course, I jest. But when the leaders of our country are better at throwing shade than explaining their own policies, it does seem vaguely reminiscent of a reality show. Entertaining? Certainly. But only when you forget that this is real life and that these are the people responsible for creating, interpreting, and enforcing our laws.
I was eighteen when Obama was elected for the first time. I voted for him. Four years later, I didn’t, because my voting priorities changed. I disagreed with Obama on several of his policies; however, I truly believe he was doing the best he could to take care of the most people he could with the resources he had. And just because I would have done it differently doesn’t mean the way he did it was wrong.
That attitude of respect is missing in Washington. People on both sides are so focused on win-lose scenarios that many of us feel like we are all losing. Debates are screaming matches. Politicians claim to desire unity but there is an unspoken clause attached. “I want us to be unified, which means you need to change your values and agree with me.”
If unity is the goal, then why do our nation’s politicians continue to fight with fire? Why are they more focused on destroying each other than helping the people who elected them? Why is shutting down any part of the national government seen as a viable option?
I don’t have answers to any of these questions. I don’t have many answers at all regarding politics, because it’s so hard to find a news story that isn’t buried in bias. I’m a mom who gets minimal free time a day. And I don’t always want to spend that free time scourging fifty different sources on the same topic just so I can formulate an educated guess as to what is actually occurring. So I do the best I can with a few daily headlines from Reuters.
But here’s what I do know. When 800,000 federal employees were temporarily without pay, countless restaurants and businesses offered free meals. Churches and charities donated money to help these employees. The American people, without government regulation, took care of their own. We didn’t need the law telling us to do the right thing. We just did it. Because, regardless of our differences, Americans realize that we need each other to succeed.
To our leaders in Washington,
Regardless of your personal feelings towards your opposition, please recognize that each person has their merits. Contentious douchebags can make great economic decisions. Inexperienced loudmouths can have great ideas. Unlikable villians can produce great legislation.
Remember that it is not all about you. In fact, none of it’s about you. The Declaration of Independence was signed 231 years ago. Of the fifty-two men who signed it, I recognize four names. But I understand that, as a unified group, they sacrificed their personal comforts and security for the freedom of our country. One hundred years from now, our citizens won’t know your names. Hopefully, they will understand what you sacrificed to make our country better for them.
Last week, my pastor said something that you desperately need to hear. He said, “Meekness is power under control.” It means choosing when to utilize your power. It means being willing to compromise, while having a few non-negotiables. It takes grit, determination, and a strong spine to be a good politician but the strongest spines must also be flexible.
You may be highly intelligent but you are not the smartest person in the room. If you are, then it’s time to find a new room. Be open to new ideas. Be vigilant about re-examining your own belief system so that you can grow as a person. Your campaign promises may not be what is best for our country so be willing to revise them, and be willing to change.
To the people,
I see so many debates on social media about different political policies. I rarely comment because it is hard to find an internet discussion where participants are actually seeking new knowledge. If you’re posting your own ideas, make sure you’re willing to study the ideas of others.
I love living in a country where different views are welcome. Seeing protests followed by counter-protests remind me that we live in a diverse culture. It ensures that we won’t be overtaken by a singular ideology. It helps protect us from the dangerous views that has led to genocide, mass famine, and oppressive laws in other countries.
To my liberal friends, thank you for emphasizing the importance of our environment. Thank you for supporting innovation and diversity to ensure that all people have a voice. The United States needs people like you.
To my conservative friends, thank you for your desire to keep our country safe. Thank you for reminding us of the importance of tradition and respect for law and authority. The United States needs people like you.
To my moderate friends, the United States needs people like you to mediate between diversity. Don’t become apathetic, and let your voice be heard.
Disagreement is healthy. It takes all kinds of people to form a perfect union. In Matthew 12, it states,
“The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”… But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”
Regardless of your views on Christianity, I think we can all agree that the expressed sentiment is accurate. Liberals need conservatives. Conservatives need liberals. Our country was founded by men who didn’t always agree; yet, they managed to start something great.
So stop yelling. Start discussing. Start listening. If you can’t do these simple steps, we’re all going to lose.
*As I was contemplating this post, I found the following informative:
Laber-Warren, E. (2012). Unconscious Reactions Separate Liberals and Conservatives: Psychological insights might tone down the bitter feuding between Democrats and Republicans. Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/calling-truce-political-wars/
Caldwell-Harris, C. (2013). How a liberal learned to respect conservative thinking (and accept the fact that, yes, the right is happier than the left). Retrieved from http://www.bu.edu/bostonia/fall13/conservative/