I’ve Had Enough

Cooperation over contempt


photo by Connor Foran

We have turned very simple American ideals and made them partisan issues.

Connor Foran, Reporter

I try to keep my involvement in politics as little as I possibly can. This can be quite difficult, considering my parents are watching CNN or MSNBC on a seemingly 24-hour loop. At a certain point, the news cycle becomes way too predictable: Trump does something stupid, and then Democrats act surprised as if he’s never done anything like this before, while Republicans somehow find a way to defend him. And there’s always a split screen where two people talk over each other.

I understand fully well the need to be politically involved. I know that I need to have an opinion and a say where my nation is headed.

The problem, however, is that anytime I say that opinion, I feel the need to duck and cover for fear of half the population barking at me for being wrong. Having understood both parties’ perspectives, it almost feels like treachery when I’m in a conversation with people from one party and I advocate for the view of the other.

That, I believe, is the problem with our discourse. We’re too arrogant.

We have turned very simple American ideals and made them partisan issues. Freedom of expression has more or less been claimed by both parties, who claim the other is spreading “fake news” to further their own agenda. Every single issue is turned into “us vs. them” rather than a true discussion and a real search for truth. Ironically enough, if you bring this up to either of them, they will likely blame the other party for this mindset.

As both a gay man and a practicing Catholic, I have had to figure out myself what is right and what isn’t, and I’ve been able to sympathize with points from both left and right.

However, it shouldn’t just be people who were born into weird situations who should be able to understand both sides of the coin. There is no reason that godless sodomites and fundamentalist bigots shouldn’t be able to have a civil conversation with one another.

A true understanding of somebody else’s mindset can strengthen your confidence in your own, or it can help you see the reason in something you once saw unreasonable. But most of all, it helps you see the humanity of the other, that they’re not just evil antagonists that want to destroy you and everything you stand for — but that they’re human. They have had experiences which have informed their perspective, and you can’t narrow people down to just their political views. The full picture is much more complex than we realize.

It’s beyond me how the conversation has become so toxic. It’s beyond me why people consider mudslinging and name-calling to be perfectly ethical methods of campaigning. It’s beyond me why people place more emphasis on being right than being respectful and have chosen to toe the party line rather than develop diverse viewpoints. But it doesn’t matter. Personally, I’ve had enough.