Why Can’t We Disagree About Politics?
By Mike Edwards
Why can’t we have discussions with others about politics and religion when disagreeing? There are differences in the political and religious arena, but politicians and religious folks have similarities when disagreeing. I will discuss religion disagreements more in my next post.
Could the problem be about power and control?
There may be an elephant in the room. Not all but many seek to impose their beliefs on others without debate. I can’t read the hearts of individuals. I do know control and power are intoxicating and a part of human nature. These internal forces flourish when others are not allowed to discuss alternative opinions in the public arena. When only one side is presented, control and power grow intentionally or unintentionally. A free, democratic society requires debate.
Recognize your opinion may not be the more moral view
Politicians and religious folks often hide behind either science or a book such as the Bible. Opposing political views are often said to disagree with science or be immoral. But science is not black and white and demands challenge. Most admit science can change, revealing claims should always be open to debate. Refusing challenges can suggest some underlying fear or dysfunction.
Your view of climate control or immigration, whatever side you stand on, must be open to challenge. You may be right; you may be wrong. Yes, expert opinions exist on both sides of the aisle. Different opinions must be allowed to stand side by side as we attempt to come to an agreement which actions may be the most caring for the greater good. Can you imagine how different our nation would be if all politicians were open to such discussions?
Accept disagreeing about most issues is normal
My wife and I didn’t argue much when dating, which didn’t exactly prepare me for the first years of marriage. Love doesn’t make go away having to share bathrooms, finances, closets, in-laws, etc. Love requires learning to disagree well so to live happily incompatible. Partners begin falling out of love when each assumes their way is right. You don’t have such intense conflicts with others friends because you don’t live with them.
We must stop hiding behind science or a Book. I bet I can get all politicians to agree that murder or sexual abuse is wrong. We make decisions how to punish such offenses, not whether such actions deserve punishment. Science or the Bible don’t make such actions immoral. Murder is immoral due to our inborn sense of good and evil. It is a dictatorship not a democracy when we impose our will on non-moral issues such as health care, taxes, climate change, immigration, etc.
We must have rules for war — I mean conflict
We must learn to respond not react over our differences. Begin conversations by looking for areas you agree. Both parties must seek to understand before being understood. Stop demonizing by moralizing. Handle differences with physical and verbal civility. It does take two to tango in politics. When the other side doesn’t act cooperatively, one behaving doesn’t always win the other side over in politics. Different actions may be required. Cancelation of different opinions is disastrous and unacceptable in politics or any relationship.
Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like He can be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org