By Kyle Singh
We live in the least bigoted, racist, sexist, homophobic world in the history of mankind. However, there is one bigotry we cannot seem to get over: We can’t seem to be in a room with anyone we disagree with. This observation is one that troubles me deeply. We live in, arguably, the most polarizing version of America anyone has ever experienced. One can easily sift through the news networks and find the same event being presented in completely different ways. Both Conservative networks and Liberal networks are culpable in this act. It has become far too easy to remain surrounded by those who agree with us and see the world from our vantage point. One can easily choose to listen to the version of the story that matches up with their own beliefs and principles.
I believe that each person has distinct reasons for the beliefs they hold. That those reasons come directly from their experience and the way that they see the world. And, that any beliefs they may have as a result of this are just as valid as my own. I can never go through what another person has gone through. Therefore, it is my duty to understand their point of view, while staying true to my own. It is my duty to listen with an open mind and acknowledge our differences and commonalities.
There is a severe lack of understanding on both sides. Moreover, there is a severe lack of willingness to discuss and debate with those who don’t see eye to eye with us. We should never have a political discussion with anyone we don’t agree with, and proceed to disassociate with them shortly afterwards. We should never allow differing politics to get personal and aggressive. We must stop being sensitive and petty when someone’s beliefs don’t match up with our own. Instead, we should understand that just as we are passionate about our own beliefs, they are passionate about theirs. We should let the disagreements live, cherish them, and understand that this is what makes our country so special. The fact that each and every one of us has the ability to express our opinions and form our distinct opinions based on our values and principles is a sacred idea.
The extremes are not the reality of the America we live in. Most Republicans and Democrats are good, decent and reasonable people. The unfortunate thing is that the extremes, on both sides, are the most vocal. They are cavalier in their speech and in the process, they become the standard bearer for what people believe the other side stands for.
The differences between Conservatives and Liberals are not as stark as people think. They are perfectly valid between the two groups and one can easily justify both sides of the aisle. Liberals believe that a Government that is more involved, and smartly run, can solve some of the major problems of our time. Problems that the liberal will state are important are disparities in wealth and our ill treatment of minorities. They believe that the Government is the engine to protect the rights of people and that without it, the free enterprise system would exploit those who cannot fend for themselves. The Conservative believes that the Government is the problem and that the only way to solve the problems that the Liberal articulates is to limit the scope of Government, allow the free enterprise system to thrive and give power to the individual. Of course, as you all thoroughly know, I side with one of these beliefs in my core and have explained it, and will continue to, in great depth. At the same time, I can still understand where someone on the other side is coming from.
One of the claims that I think is grossly wrong is that the Liberal is not patriotic. The majority of Liberals respect the flag and this Country. They value the opportunities that it provides. They just have a different set of problems that they have identified and want to fix simply in the name of making this country better. We all pledge allegiance. In the same way, many claim that the Conservative only supports the wealthy and by extension is immoral. This could not be further from the truth. We all feel empathy for those who are less fortunate than ourselves. We just have a different belief on how those people can be helped and by extension our country can be improved.
And So I Wish to State the Following Credo Once and For All:
Yes, Liberals are Patriotic. Yes, Conservatives are Moral.
No, not all Democrats are Socialists. No, not all Republicans only care about the rich.
The vast majority of us love this country and want it to do well. We want it to prosper and thrive.
The question is simply a matter of how we get there. We should get away from the silliness of inane jabs we see taken on a daily basis by the extreme wings of both sides of the aisle.
So, let’s engage with that which makes us distinctly American. Let’s relish in the idea that, with all of our vigorous differences, our greater humanity will triumph. It is the only way we can sustain our Democracy. It is the only way that we can continue to live out the promise of this country. It is the only way that we can build towards a more perfect union.
Visual courtesy McDonald’s ad
Neither left, not right,
Kyle Singh promises
Straight Talk in this new
column. He is a researcher
at Columbia University
and considering a run for
local office in Long Island
in the coming cycle.