Why Can't We All Just Get Along? Why a Return to Civility in Politics Will Help Us All

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Politics today seems to often times bring out the worst in people. Family and friends face major divide based purely off of their differences in opinion. I personally have experienced this tension within my own family. I, a staunch Democrat, am considered the odd man out since the rest of my family identifies as Republican. My mom, dad, brothers, aunts, uncles, and grandparents all share very similar ideological beliefs, especially in regard to guns, abortion, and immigration. 

This has led to many disagreements between them and I, particularly when I would come home for the holidays. As I got older, the fights grew more worse as I often felt these arguments not only attacked my political beliefs, but also my morals and sense of self. Usually by the end I was in tears, frustrated that I couldn’t get them to change their minds through these discussions. 

Today’s politics are not so different. Those on opposite sides are well-known for flinging mud and arguing with one another versus working together to solve problems. 

Over time, I have learned that this yelling and fighting is simply ineffective at convincing anyone of anything. When we attack those with differing beliefs, focusing on the points of contrast rather than our similarities, we stop them from ever wanting to listen to us. Think of the last time you got into a big shouting match. You probably didn’t care too much about what the other person was saying because you were on the defensive. This sort of communication isn’t really communication and it keeps us from finding common ground from which to move forward from. 

  So my point is that, while we may all have our own framework for ideological beliefs, we are more similar than we are different. I have learned from my own experiences that I can learn a lot from others, especially those who I may not necessarily agree with. And, with time, you can not only learn about others but they can learn from you, too.