The Road Less Traveled, thoughts on Contemporary American Voters

Qui n’avance pas, recule.

So you voted. “Done your civic duty.” You’ve “Participated in the ‘great experiment’.” Now what? You sit forward in your recliner with violent solicitude, refreshing that web-page, or listening to the same speakers drone for hours on CNN or Fox as the results pour in? Perhaps you wail and beat your breast when your team loses, bemoaning to the world that it heralds a new age of darkness and depravity, all the while simmering in self-righteous anger over the ‘others’ who voted for the opposite obstreperous animal.

Or you could stop for a moment and realize it’s the perfect opportunity to create a round-table for discussion, keeping alive the brutal necessity for rational political discourse. You could spend the next four years learning to countenance opposing ideas, putting your own through intense inquiry, and learning, perhaps, that you are more than your opinions, and that a true democratic process necessitates fair and truthful dialogue.

You could learn that the ‘other’ guy isn’t out to destroy the world as you know it. In the meantime, you may even develop a renewed relationship and appreciation of yourself. In your newfound emotional awareness, you may even begin to realize that, maybe, society doesn’t summarize to ‘0’ if it doesn’t directly correlate to your personal beliefs.

There is a surfeit of information proving that our survival as a species is an exception to the rule.  Instead of erecting barriers to dialogue out of fear and mistrust and choosing to live by this rule, we could try something different. We could continue being the exception. We could choose to live by reason instead of allowing our minds to be ruled by fear. By tying our personal beliefs in evaluation of that fear to the value of our society we inoculate ourselves against new and potentially beneficial ideas.

In effect, we shut down the opportunity for communication.

Communication – the necessity for discourse, is the life-blood of our culture. Our individual, invidious hatreds and biases are more apt to destroy us than the woman upstairs that voted for Trump, or the guy across the street that voted for Hillary. You know what’s killing America?

People that are dishonest with themselves and don’t know how to talk with each-other.

You want to feel like you’re actually contributing to society? Force yourself to listen. Force yourself to consider viewpoints from the other person’s perspective. Ask questions – to yourself and to others. Being open-minded does not mean being weak-willed, it means you’re an effective communicator. Evaluating an idea fairly is not the same as accepting it as your own.

Of course, if being irrational, self-vindicated, emotionally dishonest, and angry is your thing – by all means. You do you. Keep name-calling – keep self-seething over people that hold opinions contrary to your own. Keep soliciting information that reinforces your opinion alone. Keep finding reasons to distrust or even hate your fellow Americans. Do that, and guess what?

You are destroying America more surely than that ‘other’ person’s vote.

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~ by nyelome on November 8, 2016.

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