We fail to listen to those with whom we disagree

My mother taught me one very simple rule as a young teenager: When you disagree with someone in any form it may come, in order to stave off a chaotic argument first listen, then make sure you understand what they’re saying. Then respond, thoughtfully, with composure and assurance. Disagreeing with someone is OK, I promise.

Everyday I read or see a discussion in the current news regarding American politics and why one side says they are right versus the other. I feel like today most of America would rather just pick a side and berate one another and not bother with a civil conversation. I simply feel both sides are listening to the loudest, most boisterous voices and are responding in a very emotional and unconstructive manner.

I do believe in civil discourse and meaningful debate in our government. Facebook is the single greatest media platform for all voices to be heard, but the ones I seem to see, more than any, are to discount all conservative ideas from the left, and to discount all progressive views from the right.

America is built on the continuing conversations of both ideologies. In regards to the shutdown, Republicans say Democrats want open borders and end of law enforcement, and that is just not true.

Being a registered Democrat, I still believe in a robust immigration system that can show compassion to those looking for better lives for themselves and their families and in local and federal law enforcement to protect and serve our cities and country.

This is by no means an attack against my Republican friends and community members, as some Democrats and even friends of mine will attack Donald Trump just because he is simply Donald Trump.

So why, as a nation, can we not come together under civil discourse and an exchange of ideas in the realm of American politics? Because we have failed to listen to those with whom we disagree, and instead of responding with ideas or compromise, we seem to fall into the pit of slinging insults and defamatory statements at one another.

Supporters of both sides use vitriolic language to attack and inflame situations, whether it’s in Washington, D.C., on the news, or even in your circle of friends and family. The terms conservative and liberal were not always negative terms like they seem to be today. They just helped describe your view on politics and views on who you may or may not support based on ideas.

Just a point of fact as well, at one point in American politics we used to have liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats. Now our politics has polarized itself into a two-way street and no one wants to try to add a few lanes. I believe American politics from D.C. to your home has become a volatile mess that leads conversations about it astray and into chaos.

All I ask is next time you’re on Facebook or having a conversation about politics and you disagree, stop and listen first, give yourself time to formulate a response. In that time, you may come to an understanding or even possibly change your stance. You both might even come up with a mix of ideas that could be a solution.

Without first hearing one side we can’t begin to understand the other.

So, in the famous words of my mother, “Brian. Shut up and let them finish speaking.”