Please don’t tell me your political party. I really don’t want to know. Political parties put you in a box in my head. Your Republican well you must be….Your a Democrat well you must think like…At that point, no matter what you say or who you are, or what you may have achieved or contributed, I judge you. Honestly, I don’t want to be the “judgey” person, but I am creating my own version of you in my head.I have been pre-programmed by media bombardment to judge you and dismiss you. I am ashamed of this about myself, but if I’m really honest I know I do it and I know I am not alone.
It is human nature to place people in categories or groups, but it is wrong to prejudge someone. I’m wrong to do it. Just because you identify with some aspects of a political party doesn’t mean you believe in the worst of any ideology. That doesn’t mean that is all you are. It doesn’t mean I can not learn something from you.
Many news outlets and political leaders tell us what to think about a political stance, that each side is totally wrong. They never draw attention to the nuances of good that run in each.
What we…I have failed to see past is that an ideology is only part of that person and can not fully represent all of that persons experiences, thoughts or feelings. Our beliefs are not paint by numbers, they are numerous detailed brushstrokes creating a picture over time.
This whole idea occured to me when I found myself listening to a Podcast and was really connecting with what the person was saying. I was learning some interesting information and enjoyed it. Then the speaker dropped the bomb and stated their political leanings. I balked and shut off the podcast. I returned to a it a little later after the realization that I made assumptions about this person, what they believed, and who they we’re based on that one statement.
Did there statement nullify all that I had been benefiting from and learning up to that point? Did it really change the connection I felt until them? Not really, only my judgement and perception of them changed.
In politics you only hear of the bitter feuds and mudslinging, What about the average person who might believe different from their neighbor, but still respects and appreciates them. Seeing them as the individuals that they are.
Differences are not bad. It is how we learn, grow, challenge ourselves and each other. Differences can open our mind to a previously unknown perspective.
I’m not left or right, I’m not even center, I’m just me and I believe there is good and bad in both views. For every Anthony Weiner, there is a Josh Dugger.
What matters is what has always mattered, the character of the person, not the group they belong to. What matters is how they live their life. Is it with compassion and understanding or close-mindedness and anger.
I will try to remember this going forward.
(Sorry for such an area specific post. I don’t know if this post will apply as much to someone living outside the USA but maybe they can find something useful in it.)