I am not your enemy

I wander onto social media and see all these memes designed to provoke and divide us, and I wonder why some people are so intent on splitting us into warring camps. 

The memes contain the essence of one political party’s talking points with the implication that to disagree is to believe the extreme opposite in the cruelest sense. You know the sort of thing: “I belong to my party because I don’t believe kittens deserve to be eaten.”

Every couple of years in the U.S., a professional pig wrestling tournament is held — some call it an election — in which the participants are cast in terms of good and evil, honest and corrupt, noble and ignoble, and once the wrestling is over, the expectation is that the winners are to go into a room and cooperate to solve all our problems. The thing is, if they believe what they were saying about each other, how can they possibly work together? And sure enough, the ensuing conversations are little more than a continuation of the pig-wrestling campaign.

And now so many people are caught up in this belief that one political party or another is the sole champion of truth and justice and morality, and if you don’t swallow every tenet you surely are a spawn or a pawn of Satan, or at least of Russia or China.

Don’t get me wrong. Folks are free to say and believe what they want, and I don’t want anyone to police or censor “hateful speech” on social media. For one thing, reasonable people disagree over what hate speech actually is. You may see a passionate defense of your political party while all I can see is your hate seething from the page, and vice versa.

I just suggest that you put yourself in the shoes of your opponent and consider that they seek a path to truth and justice that’s simply different from yours, not evil. No one is opposed to truth or justice, except perhaps someone who benefits from pitting humans against each other. Who do you suppose that might be, and why would they want to do that?

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