Can anyone in America see beyond partisan politics anymore? Have we all become so blinded by the current climate that we can’t even think beyond party affiliation?
“So what do you think about yesterday’s NYTimes article on Trump’s alleged tax fraud and inheritance of $400 million from his father, contrary to the claims he has made for years about being a self-made billionaire?” I asked. “I haven’t read it,” my friend replied, “but it’s total BS.” “How can you know that if you haven’t even read it?” I asked, frustrated and incredulous. “It’s total BS,” he replied, and that was the end of that conversation.
“So do you think Kavanaugh is guilty or not?” I asked another friend last week, genuinely interested in her feelings. “He’s definitely guilty,” she replied emphatically. “No question about it.” “But the FBI investigation hasn’t started yet,” I said. “So what? He’s guilty. No doubt in my mind.”
I am worried about the state of our country. Not only because of what some of our leaders are doing or have done, but because their extreme behavior has engendered extreme behavior in us. Americans have become so polarized that we seem unable to think through each situation, carefully reviewing it in its own light, in its own right. Instead, we seem to be unable to entertain a point of view different from the one held by the majority of our chosen political party.
And this does not bode well for our country. Not for any of us. Not so long ago, we used to care enough about each other to genuinely listen, to genuinely care what our neighbors had to say – those who think like us and those who don’t. No longer.
People on both sides of the aisle are filled with rage and self-righteousness that says, “I don’t even need to hear what you have to say. I know you’re wrong before you even open your mouth.”
But by the grace of God, and only by the grace of God, one person did not succumb to this temptation of our day, Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake. At a critical time in the history of our nation, he did something that is almost unheard of in today’s climate. He tapped his Democratic colleague on the shoulder and nodded his head, “Let’s go talk.”
So they went into a back room and reached a compromise, together, a compromise that regardless of the final vote on Kavanaugh has shown our country a way forward, a way out of the seemingly entrenched quagmire we are in.
Let us learn from their example. Let us reach across whatever aisle we find ourselves in. Let us not succumb to the temptation of our day.