Perhaps it is what the media is choosing to focus on, but it certainly seems like people in the McCain-Palin camp are more interested in continuing to assert misinformation about Barack Obama’s character and personal background. And to be fair, I know there are liberals who lash out at conservatives in ugly ways.
When I see these hateful outbursts in public, I respond in fear, and I go back to the comfort of my family and friends who share my values and opinions. What I see are people who hate me and my loved ones, and who want to move towards ensuring I am stripped of my civil rights. I am actually afraid for my personal safety, and I’m afraid to engage in any sort of dialog.
But I also know that if we are never able to talk to each other about our different perspectives, our country is never going to heal our divisions. I know there are people on either side of the issues who want to talk about about energy policy, the environment, healthcare, and the war rather than dig up dirt and attack the character of the candidates. I wish people would stop looking for reasons to hate and fear each other.
I know there are good people out there who have a world view different from my own, who are respectful and compassionate and who desire an open dialog about our differences. I just don’t know how to connect with them.
I suspect that I am like many others in that I tend to associate with people who are like-minded. My friends and my online social network reflect values that I hold. I am interested in dialoging with conservatives, and try to meet in the middle and find common ground on divisive issues. At the very least learn about what informs opinions that are different from mine and offer up the opportunity for people to learn about what informs my opinions. I want to get away from that place of fear and move towards mutual respect.
If there are conservatives out there who are interested in respectfully reaching across and learning about people who have a different perspective, let’s find a way to talk to each other.