Friday, October 9, 2009

Discourse

This morning, I couldn’t help but think about the political discourse in this country. Right after the announcement that President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, the backlash began. The President of these united states won a major and distinguished prize and immediately people pounced, not even hesitating to congratulate him.

We call ourselves the United States but we are hardly united. It seems as though each day someone, rather than listening to their peers, tries to shout louder and more forcefully so their opinion can be dominant. Wouldn’t we all benefit from truly listening to the opposing side?

I can easily be called a liberal. I believe in gay rights, my right to determine what happens to my body, some degree of universal health care, outlawing cop killer bullets and that a citizen’s responsibility is to help and nurture their fellow citizens. I’m more fiscally conservative and socially liberal.

I cannot help but be slightly bothered by the “take that” attitude to the other side of the aisle, whether Democrats or Republicans. I do not tend to believe one party should control both the executive and legislative branches of government. I like the balance of having the “other side” with enough strength to question what is happening in governing of our country.

Ideally we should all be working for the greatest benefit for our compatriots. We might not always agree on what that is; but isn’t that where the conversation should start? We tell small children to “use your words” yet often we fail to do the same. Being united starts with listening, with truly hearing each other. We need to meet in the middle more often, knowing you cannot win every battle in life. Compromise is what helped to form our Constitution. Yes, this document can easily be called an imperfect document. Never should someone have been counted as 3/5 of a person. Yes, there continues to be a debate over states rights and federal responsibility. Yet, we would not be the same country today were it not for thoughtful, energetic and at times frustrating debate our Founders had. The best legacy we can offer these men, who created a perfect yet imperfect country, is to listen with compassion and openness to those with wildly divergent viewpoints. I, like Ben Franklin, like to believe the sun is rising. However, for that to be true we must work on being a truly united republic.


2 comments:

Bells said...

i'm pretty shocked at the backlash too. I think Obama is a symbol of many exciting and promising changes and deserves the award. But he's more than a symbol. He's a great leader. And I say that as an Australian!

Maria Rose said...

I have noticed that many people, myself included, share your sentiments to some degree or another. I am hopeful that this is the beginning of something.