Uncivil Discourse

I have always intentionally avoided politics on this blog simply because I trust each person to follow their own heart and conscience.  There are some who would consider me somewhat naive.  Be that as it may, I find I must address the one issue I see to be common to all sides of the political landscape these days: Individualism.

Defined by Merriam-Webster, Individualism is a doctrine that the interests of the individual are or ought to be ethically paramount.  That seems innocuous enough but think about it a little more.  The experiences and opinions of the Individual are more important than the experiences and opinions of the Other. Therefore, the Other can never be respected, merely converted.

I wonder sometimes if you, like me, often find yourself pulled into debates that quickly degenerate into the drawing of party battle lines and the seemingly mandatory assignation of labels and wonder why it has to be this way.  Why does someone have to be right and someone has to be left?  Why does someone have to wrong in order for someone to right?  There never has been, nor will there ever be, any sort of attainable utopia brought about by any form of political, religious or social doctrine.  So why must there be so much acrimony?

I wonder sometimes, lately more than ever, what would become of us if we stopped worrying so much about the Individual and spent some time learning about the Other?  What would become of us if we put away the labels, erased the battle lines, threw out the stereotypes and actually had a conversation?  We might just find out that that Liberal Conservative Muslim Christian Jewish Humanist Gay Slacker CEO over there is decent human being full of ideas, thoughts, feelings and beliefs just like us.  Imagine if we worked together to solve our collective issues.

With that in mind, would it still be so hard to accept that the Other might be someone to respect and consider rather to conscript and convert?