Despite the election, why can’t we get along?
It is sad that in the lead up to the election, once-friends can become the worst of enemies thanks to clashing political views.
In the lead up to an election, emotions often run hotter than logic, and the extreme political left and extreme political right usually relate rather antagonistically towards one another.
The far left tend to see fairness as an issue of equality, while those on the right see it as an issue of proportionality.
That helps to explain why generally those on the left desire to see a large social safety net versus the conservative attitude which deems people as receiving only what they work for and no more. Gay marriage is also proving a contentious issue for some conservatives.
As politics have come to encompass more and more issues of daily life, including social welfare, gay marriage, taxes and the environment; fights over these values feel personal and emotional.
It's now not just voting for one party or the other; it's about right and wrong, good and evil, black and white.
A polarised Australian media problematically provides the extreme left and right for a readymade place, which reinforces their world views and biases.
In such a polarising environment, the worst thing one can do is block, unfriend or silence a friend or associate who has a differing political view. It's imperative that one reads widely and considers diverse opinions.
Australians are blessed to live in a democratic country where freedom of speech is afforded. Listening, appreciating and valuing differences in opinion allows for growth, understanding and the development of empathy.
Migrating into a moral enclave, effectively applying a filter upon your world, and bringing down the blinds; creates tension and distrust and allows for scaremongering, and the dehumanisation of those who do not have views that align with yours.
Understanding, valuing and appreciating differences doesn't mean that the left and right will see eye-to-eye. But, that there are ways to keep political discourse civil and cooperative.
Ask questions instead of arguing. Arguing tends to entrench people into their own positions. Instead of arguing, asking people why they believe what they hold to be true is certainly more productive.
Most people on the left and right will find that their thinking isn't very different, yet it's framed in a incompatible way or all wrapped up in political jargon and conflict.
Underneath all of this political speak is more commonality than people like to think. We all are human begins and we are all entitled to an opinion.
If you allow yourself to see the world through another person's eyes, you come to realise that just because they don't agree with you they are not demonic or stupid.
Let's just all get along. May 18 will come around sooner rather than later, and regardless of the outcome, we will all need to accept it and live with it.