You know what’s easy? Starting an argument, that’s what.
I could tell you that I’m kind of a professional in instigating conflict, and I truly am, but that could give the impression that irritating someone to the point of an argument is difficult. In reality, it’s a piece of cake. Don’t believe me? Watch this.
Half of you just puffed up your chest and raised your hackles in anticipation of a fight with some “clueless lib” who wants to take your guns and blow up Israel, while the other half just started screaming “racist” and began Googling whether or not any presidents in history have been impeached twice.
Look, this is really easy. It doesn’t take that much at all to get people flying off the handle and professing some kind of dominance in intelligence and purity of soul over everybody who disagrees. And, yeah, I know that the current president is low-hanging fruit as a topic of discourse, so that was an easy test. Let me throw out another word.
Ooh, ooh. I have another one.
Bernie Sanders. No, wait. Impossible Burgers. How to discipline our own children? Parking meters? A lack of parking meters?
We can go all day on this. Whereas “the American Way” once meant a path to a comfortable life was there for the taking through hard work, enterprise and faith, it now seems to suggest that the modern version of “the American Way” is to divide up into teams and rip apart the opposition.
Except, well, the opposition is us, isn’t it?
Jo Cox was a member of the British Parliament until her murder in June 2016 by someone who disagreed with her opinions. Ironically, she was a believer in uniting different factions and is credited with a quote that has garnered a ton of popularity over recent years: “We are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us.”
Yes, Cox was British, and I’m mostly talking about how modern-day Americans are becoming as proficient in our ability to tear each other to shreds, but you probably get my point.
Unless you do get my point, and just want to argue about it. Admit it. That’s what you wanted to do.
But back to my earlier comment about Jo Cox — she was absolutely right. We do have more in common than we have that seriously divides us.
Look, issues like abortion, religion, guns, the death penalty and health care are always going to be hotly contested in this nation, and they should. They are gigantic, critical discussions that require people digging in and fighting their cases until their dying breaths. Then they require new people picking up the proverbial torches and carrying on the fight.
These are the kinds of topics that we should be fighting over: War. Taxes. Judicial appointees. All of these are worth picking sides over because they are serious. There are arguments that people feel passionately about on both sides, and people should.
But most of the stuff? Come on. Most of us want the same things in life.
We want our families to feel safe. We want a solid roof over our heads, warmth in the winter and some relief in the summer. We want clean drinking water, the ability to purchase or grow food and the protection from reprisal when we practice our religious or spiritual faiths. And we all hate the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Am I right?
This isn’t hard. No, wait. This is obviously very hard. But it shouldn’t be. I’m of the firm belief that our “leaders” in Washington should first be focusing on the issues that we have a general consensus on, but I also believe that their own obsessions with self-preservation will prevent them from ever really doing so, unless “We the People” can unite and force their collective hand.
Term limits? Are we all for those? Drastically stripping the power and influence from lobbying groups, where only the most powerful cabals truly get a voice with our lawmakers?
Do you see our “leaders” really voting for these things? No, they’d prefer to battle over hotly-contested issues time and time again to keep the lines in the sand very visible, as they are in a constant state of running for their next terms, while lobbyists wine and dine them at every corner.
I know this is a hot-button word around here lately, but what about a national referendum every four years — timed with the midterm elections?
We could vote on term limits. We could vote on legalizing cannabis, or funding for border walls. We could vote on the next American Idol if we wanted. Wait, is that still on? I admit that the last thing I watched on regular television that wasn’t sports, news or PBS Kids was when Sam and Diane split up on “Cheers,” so I’m a little out of the loop. I mean, they seemed so different on the surface, but who tells the heart what to belie...
But I digress.
We need to focus on our commonalities, or we’ll one day be arguing over what caused the collapse of this great country.