There's a very basic conversation that ought to be happening in our nation these days. It's a conversation centered on whether government ought to be larger and have a more significant role in daily life, or whether government ought to be smaller and have a more limited role.
The trouble right now is that the only potential conversation we're even thinking about having is related to how much we ought to hate the other candidate. I've heard that one of the candidates for president is too wealthy, and therefore out of touch with the realities of the everyday life that most of us live. I've heard that the other candidate hates America, and all of his policies are designed to ruin this great country of ours.
I've heard that both are hypocritical ~ that they make promises they have no intention of keeping. I've heard all these things and more … plus, I've heard similar accusations thrown back and forth about the vice-presidential candidates.
I'm sick of all this accusatory nonsense, and I imagine I'm not the only one.
Part of the problem is that when we hear the major candidates and their surrogates vilifying their opponent, we feel like we have permission to do the same. When our co-worker has a different opinion from ours about foreign policy, or taxation, or abortion, or who ought to have the right to get married ~ when we disagree about anything, we have permission to hate our co-worker.
Obviously we don't actually have permission to hate our neighbor ~ but our political atmosphere seems to tell us that we do.
I would love to have an national conversation about the role of government. I would love for that conversation to be respectful, polite, and rational. I would love for people on opposing sides of that (and any other) issue to recognize that the other person is a real person.
I would love for to recognize the holiness of our opponent ~ in my own Christian language, I would love for us to recognize each other as children of G-d.
I would love for each side to remember, and to believe, that their opponent truly does have the best interest of our nation and of generations to come at heart.
I'm not holding my breath.