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Healing the Divide

News personalities and politicians will have us think that 'we the people' hate each other based on political beliefs. That is not my experience.

The high ranking elected officials of the United States have resorted to childish name-calling to gain favor within their party. The left calls the right bible-thumping, racist, deplorable, bitter clingers. The right calls their opponents libtard, snowflake, commies. Even Presidents and presidential candidates take part. The problem is that these officials aren't using these childish pejorative terms against each other, they direct these insults at we the people.

News personalities have joined in with this counterproductive defamation. CNN's Don Lemon recently laughed hysterically on camera as the panel mocked Trump supporters, and Fox News has referred to the left as snowflakes repeatedly. Behind the keyboard, the American people are taking the bait and joining in. Insults and slander based on political beliefs are commonplace. We have become filled with hate for the other side, or at least that is what it looks like on social media.

As often happens, real life doesn't always align with online life. My experience is that political beliefs don't dominate our lives. Coworkers don't share the same political beliefs but most get along fine. Personally, my best friend and neighbor is nearly my political opposite. We enjoy debating politics, even though we rarely can sway one another's opinion. Real in-person smearing based on political beliefs among average people seems pretty rare.

We are being manipulated to believe that we must hate the other side. The political divide is growing, or so we are told. In reality, we can get along just fine if we don't take that bait. The fact is that a large majority of Americans are not left-wing or right-wing. The bulk of us falls somewhere in the middle. That is good news because nearly all workable solutions come from somewhere in the middle too. For example, the far-right wants the government completely out of healthcare while the far-left wants the government to take over the healthcare system. The solution to healthcare is certainly somewhere in the middle.

Why are the political elites trying so hard to foment such hatred? The bitter polarization can lead to violence. Is a civil war some sick goal? Angry partisans can ruin familiar relationships. Is destroying families the goal, as in the communist manifesto? Us versus them was justification for the holocaust, is that it? Our nation was built on compromise and this political casum makes almost any compromise nearly impossible. Whatever the intended consequence of this orchestrated division may be, it can not be good for us. The government is the only one who stands to gain anything from the division before us. We the people must not fall for it any longer. The members of other political parties are not our mortal enemies. The other parties are our friends, neighbors, and fellow Americans. We don't have to agree on politics, but we certainly don't have to hate each other either. For the good of our nation, our friends, and our families be civil to one another.

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