At least half of my family are conservatives. I was raised as one and became progressively more liberal as I’ve gotten older. Our family gatherings are relatively drama free, because they’re the kind of conservatives who haven’t lost their damn minds. We can remain polite and treat each other decently, since family comes first, despite our differences.
My brother-in-law is my polar opposite when it comes to issues like abortion, taxes and nearly every partisan hot topic. Yet, when I needed his help in my recent fight to get custody of my children, he went above and beyond to call in every favor owed to him to make it happen. For that, I will be forever grateful, even though we will likely never see eye to eye politically.
Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill fought like cats and dogs in the 1980s, but when Reagan was shot, the Speaker was at his hospital bedside. This isn’t some phenomenon, it’s the way our politics used to be. Sadly, we have lost that in the era of hyper-partisan media and every person with an internet blog trying to divide us for the sake of a monthly ad revenue check.
Politics has always been a nasty game, but now it is a bloodsport. It’s liberals fighting progressives, and conservatives fighting the alt-right, all in the media octagon, hoping for 15 minutes of fame. Some care about the issues, but too many care about scoring a spot on Fox News or MSNBC, or some other prominent internet connection that they can cash in on.
Every political group I belong to on Facebook is polluted with articles pushed by fake profiles promoting pages like Addicting Info, Occupy Democrats or a myriad of other websites pushing half-truths and outright lies, because that shit sells.
We desperately need a return to civility in politics, and a return to factual reporting in our media. That will not change on its own, we have to make it happen. We change this by confronting the shrill voices of hate on both sides, and refusing to buy into hyper-partisan clickbait. Get your news from NPR instead of Facebook groups, and treat the conservatives you know with respect until they forfeit civility.
Just because Donald Trump is a reckless moron that cannot be reasoned with, that doesn’t mean you can’t try to talk some sense into someone you know who voted for him. The moral high ground is a place to start from, not a hill you should try to claw your way to. Don’t let arguing with conservatives drag you from it.
“And so we go, on with our lives
We know the truth, but prefer lies
Lies are simple, simple is bliss
Why go against tradition when we can
Admit defeat, live in decline
Be the victim of our own design
The status quo, built on suspect
Why would anyone stick out their neck?” – NoFX