During the Republican National Convention this week, there was a big flap about Mr. Trump’s wife using phrases that sounded like Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic Convention some years ago. A reporter on the radio chalked up the motivation for the criticism to “politics.”
Really? Is that what we have come to? Is “politics” nothing more than an effort to manipulate other people and events to one’s own advantage, and to defame and deride others? Do we really want our national conversation to sink to that level?
My political science professor said, 43 years ago on the first day of Intro to Poly Sci class, “Politics is who gets what and how.” It’s up to us how we go about that process. We can do it with respect and honesty or, apparently, with a frightening immaturity.
I’m wondering if we’ve become a nation with a bad case of Borderline Personality Disorder. People with BPD tend to view others in an all or nothing way, either all good or all bad. They see only black and white and have no tolerance for ambiguity. They turn anyone who disagrees with or offends them into an enemy.
We have a choice. We can think of others who have different judgments and beliefs as our enemies whom we wish to defeat. Or we can think of them as partners in an endeavor that none of us can see completely and clearly. We need every perspective. We need every person. We need to realize that “both sides” if we must use that terminology, love their country, want to serve it and strengthen it. Democrats and Republicans, Greens and Independents, Libertarians and Socialists all have the same goal. They want to do what it takes to make this country a good place to live for all its citizens.
Neither Obama nor McConnell, Trump nor Clinton wants to tear down the country. All of them are seeking the good of the country. None of them has all the answers. They need each other. Let’s stop talking as if we were each others enemies. Lord knows, there are enough groups of angry people in the world who are out to destroy. We can’t let our political discussion sink to the level of name-calling and the making of enemies.
We are one nation. We need to act like it.