Even in the best of times politics is a divisive topic, and one that many would prefer to just not talk about. I doubt many would argue that we are in the best of times right now. No matter the circumstance, we always manage to find ways to separate further and to isolate ourselves further. Much of this divisiveness centers around one man, Donald Trump. Opinions on him can range from rabid support to casual embarrassment to furious opposition, but everyone has an opinion, including me.
I am not going to say my opinion for the simple reason than it is counterproductive. I am not trying to convince everyone that Trump is our savior any more than I am trying to convince everyone that he is Satan. What I am trying to ask is that we try to see where the people we disagree with are coming from without all the ad hominem. Too often I see Trump’s supporters labeled as racist morons or his opponents as whining snowflakes. Those people exist, but good rarely comes from generalizing.
Right now, the political drama of the day centers around the fact that Trump apparently wants a military parade in Washington D.C. His supporters claim this would show the strength of America to the world, and that anyone against this is simply not supporting the troops. His detractors, meanwhile, argue that veterans already have several national holidays dedicated toward them, that at best this is Trump stroking his own ego and at worst this shows dangerous signs of authoritarianism.
This is all symptomatic of an underlying, disturbingly terminal, condition. It’s called humanity. It is human nature to always think that you, and maybe you alone, are right. We can live our lives perfectly normally until we are confronted with someone who disagrees. We may make excuses for them at first, “Oh they just don’t understand it,” or “No one has ever taught them what it really is.” But when our arguments prove unconvincing those excuses fall away. We assume that they’d have to be stupid not to agree with us, though we may think it in kinder terms, and failing that, if they prove themselves capable of understanding yet still disagree, we may go so far as to think they are malicious, or even evil itself. Rarely is that the case. More often they just disagree.
What I am asking is that the next time you find yourself in an argument, political or otherwise, give the other person the benefit of the doubt; don’t assume malice or stupidity. They may just disagree, as hard as that can be to believe.