Passionate Political Discussions (and Why They Really Aren’t the Answer)

When I was taking a break from blogging, I still found myself going online, during downtimes in our house.

We’ve got an election coming up here in the US, so, naturally, a lot of the discussion on Facebook and other sites centers around politics. Normally, I abstain from political debates, because I find that they raise my blood pressure too much, without doing much else. But, when I found comments that involved namecalling or implying that the “other side” was not considering right and wrong, and was somehow less “moral”–when those comments started, in articles shared by very good friends of mine (who–you guessed it–happen to vote differently from me), I had to say something. I wanted to wave, and say, “Hey! We didn’t call each other ‘idiots’ when we were sipping wine together on Moonraker!” I wanted to put a face with “that side”. I wanted them to know that there was a logical–and morally-based–argument for the opposing views.

So, while I certainly didn’t change the way anyone is going to vote, I hope that I brought a little peace and understanding back to the homefront.

But it got me thinking–why do we get so worked up over politics? I think it’s because, at the heart of both the liberal and conservative philosophies are visions for an ideal world. And, when we vote, we’re voting for that world. We want a world where:

–People help one another.
–People value children and families.
–We are safe.
–We are able to pass on our values to our children.
–We have the freedom to make our own choices.
–People are able to rise above their situations.

The differences in “views” are really just differences in the way that we want to accomplish those things.

And, while it is important to vote, we do need to realize the limitations of trying to change the world from the voting booth. We can’t muscle people into caring. Laws won’t change thinking. Laws won’t create relationships. The creation of the world we really want begins at home. It begins:

–When we share with others, who are in need.
–When we make sustainable lifestyle choices.
–When we model kindness.
–When we live lives that are true to our values.
–When we take the time to listen to and help others.

It’s not exciting. It might not feel like “fighting for what we believe in.” But sometimes it takes just as much–if not more–courage. And it is the way to truly bring about change.

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