OK people. Whatever your political persuasion, it’s been a week. The events of the past eight days since inauguration have resulted in a lot of open and hostile disagreement on social media. I wasn’t immune to it – I took some unasked-for shots at people and had to apologize. And I’ve heard troubling accounts of people on both sides of the political spectrum being called names, bullied, demeaned, all sorts of trollish behavior.
We have to find areas where we agree in order to have substantive dialogue. If we silo ourselves into two or more different camps, this acrimony will only continue. If we stay in conflict, we’ll just stay in conflict.
In that spirit, here’s a list of things I believe we can all agree on.
Your mileage with this list may vary. This is my own personal opinion intended to bridge the divide between different points of view. It may change over time.
I welcome your comments. I would ask that you provide them in the spirit of civil discourse and respectful exchange. Thanks.
14 Things We Can All Agree On
1. What makes the United States special and unique among nations is the freedoms granted to its citizens, including freedom of speech, religion, press, and the right to peaceful assembly.
2. We want for our families and children to be healthy, happy, fed, clothed, have shelter and live out of danger.
3. We want our President and elected officials to keep us safe, grow our economy, protect our rights, and act in accordance with the Constitution and our laws.
4. We have a right to expect truthful answers from our elected and appointed officials, whether about issues large or small.
5. We all want to be listened to.
6. People who are protesting should not shout down, demean or physically assault those that disagree with them. We don’t get to hurt others because we feel hurt.
7. Protesting is not an everyday behavior. If someone is protesting publicly, they probably are experiencing strong feelings about something that matters to them. We may not understand a protester’s thoughts or feelings, but we don’t have to understand to listen and be compassionate.
8. None of us want to be hurt, threatened or denied fair treatment because of something about us. That something could be our skin color, religion, gender, sexual identity, disability, family, country, how we look or some factor outside our control. Since this is true for all of us, all of us would benefit by supporting others who face such obstacles.
9. Sexual assault is not okay.
10. Public servants should follow the rules. Classified information is classified for a reason, and elected and appointed officials should take every care to protect it in their communications.
11. When you get sick or hurt, you should be able to see a doctor and get the care you need.
12. Arguing on social media rarely changes minds. It also doesn’t make us feel better.
13. We are all brothers and sisters. There’s no escaping each other. Therefore we should strive to be kind and, if we can, love others. Even the person that hates us.
14. Han shot first. *
(*Gratuitous Star Wars reference to lighten the mood)
God bless us all.