I’m going to do it. I’m going to talk about …
Politics and Religion. It seems like from the days of being young adults, we are taught not to talk about these two divisive topics, but I’m going to anyway, but you might not like my perspective.
I’ve been wondering, why are these two subjects so taboo to talk about?
I believe it has to do at its core with the fact that we are all basically self-centered. We all are. It’s who we are by nature.
I have my preferences with candidates
I have a preferred party
I have important issues that are important to me
I have a vision for the priorities I think are important for our country
I have strong feelings about Supreme Court justices and how they should make their decisions
Do you see a common pattern? It’s all about my belief system. I look at politics from the filter of “I” …… and so do you.
We do the same with laws. We all look at current and pending legislation from the perspective of how it affects me, or if it is morally in line with my belief system. Because I matter so much to myself, I am passionate about me …. and again, so are you.
So, what tends to happen when politics comes up in a conversation, often the battle lines are drawn with each person trying to dominate the other person with their viewpoint. Battles rarely end up without bloodshed, wound, and insults. Rarely have I seen a person putting aside their viewpoint, to better understand another’s viewpoint.
Religion is much the same when it comes to our public discourse. One person promotes their beliefs, and the other person defends and promotes theirs.
So, where am I going with this post?
It’s this: without humility and a willingness to listen to someone else with respect, we not only deprive our self of a more complete (and accurate) perspective on complicated subjects, but we also greatly impede the progress we could be making in those areas if we would work together.
Several months ago, I was the foreman of a jury. We were asked to give a verdict on seven indictments against an individual. It was a brutal experience having to sit as judge over someone and have to determine whether or not they would be going to jail for many years and also to exercise some sort of justice for the victim. There was so much evidence to get my head around and then, filter that evidence to how the laws were to be understood.
As we, the jury were deliberating, I found myself greatly helped by the opinions of the other eleven jurors. There were many times, I thought to myself, “I never looked at it from that point of view”. Although I came in to the jury deliberation with some pretty firm opinions on how I would vote, by the time we, the jury, collectively made our decisions, I found that I had changed my mind on several of the indictments.
Together as a team we made, I believe decisions that were the most thorough and just.
As a country, we need to come together in a similar way and listen to the opinions of each other. It will not be easy and we will still disagree many times, but the decisions we are needing to make in this country affect us all and the only way we will make progress is by working together. It’s time!
Let me encourage you to try something. Let me encourage you to stretch yourself beyond what you may feel comfortable doing:
-try to be less vocal about your opinions
-understand that you might not be 100% right-on about your views (can you believe that?)
– try to ask more questions to others who have different opinions than you, be a learner
-try to listen more intently to others who are different than you are
– strive to respect others more passionately–all the time (you can respect the person, although you may not agree with their opinions)