So close and yet so far

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3 years ago

How many of your closest friends have political opinions that contradict your own?

In other words, if you are generous, how many of your closest friends are very serviceable?

If you are conservative, how many of your closest friends are extremely generous?

And if you are moderate or independent, how many of your closest friends are immortal on both sides of the political spectrum?

For most people today, the answer is “little”.

To find out why, we still need to ask a few questions.

  • Do you worry if your child or siblings are opposed to political positions in the opposite way?

  • Do they bother you if they marry someone who is against political views?

  • Are you scared or angry when you have to go to a party where more people than you vote for different candidates?

  • Do you go out to ask people who don't agree with you on politics?

  • Do you read, watch or listen to news from sources who support political positions against you?

  • Do you hate the party that opposes you?

  • Do you think this is a threat to the well-being of your country and its people?

  • Do you understand why his supporters like him and his candidates?

  • Do you recognize any good reason for their positions?

  • Can you clearly explain why they stand on important issues?

  • How sure are you about the political problems that separate you from them?

In many countries of the world, these questions are answered differently today than they were ten or two years ago.

Many people today have some close friends with equally different political views, living in parties supporting a larger party that supports the same political party, reading or listening to news sources that agree with them, create social media networks only with political allies and rarely meet people who express their views.

When confronted with such views, they never speak long or try to understand why these people disagree more with them. When talking to opponents, they do not try to give reasons, but instead resort to emotional appeals, verbal sarcasm, jokes at their expense and threats of exclusion or worse. Or they quickly change the subject to avoid unpleasant disagreements. None of these reactions build bridges or solve problems.

Skeptics may wonder if we are really polarized and isolated, as I have suggested. After all, many people have moderate or mixed political views, even if they don’t usually express themselves out loud or engage in politics.

Most of us know some people with opposing political views, even though we generally avoid talking to them about politics. Opposition to political parties leads to long debates in most democracies, even though these debaters often ignore the real issues.

States parties create a platform even if they rarely follow it. Politicians support their position in various news media only by reaffirming them. Such exchanges often seem to give reasons to each side. And both sides tend to believe that they fully understand their enemies.

Sometimes political opponents like each other. Therefore, “culture wars” can be exaggerated.

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