BY SHARON MARTIN
The Democratic debate was civil. The candidates discussed ideas and solutions. Why are we surprised? When did presidential elections become a media affair? When did it become socially acceptable to be an ass?
Candidates have always found less than polite ways to draw distinctions between themselves. Remember the Hamilton/Burr dual? But in the past few years, things have gotten mighty ugly.
If you want the U.S. to be respected again, here are some things to consider:
It is OK to be friends with people outside your political party.
People of different religions are not your enemy.
Equal rights and equal protection under the law are not persecution of those who practice the dominant religion.
Humans are on a continuum between extremes. On one end are those who are afraid of anyone who doesn’t look like them, think like them, believe as they do. On the other end are the folk who would draw no boundaries, welcome in everyone, share all resources. Most of us approach the center.
If you base your political affiliation on a single issue, you will vote against your self-interest. We have to pick the candidate who most closely aligns with our beliefs on a variety of issues.
You can probably find something on which you and any other person, including presidential candidates from both parties, can agree. Find that common ground.
No one should fear social justice. If we deny it to others, there’s a chance that we will lose it for ourselves.
Diversity, in ideas and in the gene pool, makes the human race stronger.
Neither socialism nor capitalism is a dirty word. The sweet spot is somewhere between the two systems.
What should our elected representatives do?
How about they work for the people they represent instead of for their parties. How about they work together.
Not only is all or nothing unfair, it is dangerous. Compromise isn’t about abandoning ones ideals but about finding workable solutions.
Diplomacy trumps war. It is not our place to overthrow the dictators in other countries, especially given the rise of fascism in our own.
Civility can make working together easier. Together we can stop the would-be warlords who would destroy our democracy. Where do we start?
Quit the name-calling and hateful rhetoric.
Have hard conversations.
Ignore the asses and ignoramuses, and don’t be either of those things yourself.
When you vote, consider not only your own best interest but also that of your fellow citizens.
Be politically active. Politics affect you personally.
This will do for a start.
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer