Friday, November 16, 2018

Talking at versus talking with each other

I love PBS. I love the shows "American Experience" and "Frontline." Ok, ok, I will admit I also like "Poldark" and "The Durrells." Now that I've admitted to that, let me return to the point of this post. Have you seen this season's episodes of "Frontline?" If not, I highly recommend you watch!

I know that political arguments that we see on Facebook with friends and family and the opinion pieces in our newspapers and tv cable are more about talking at others than talking with each other. It is easy to do, and I know I've fallen into that trap myself. In addition, our newsfeeds, including on Facebook, have been creating echo chambers that we don't even recognize we are living in. I really liked FrontLine's episodes on immigration and the two-part series about Facebook. I would like to speak to both issues.

I have friends on both sides of the aisle. As a moderate, I see some pretty whacky stuff coming from a variety of people. Very black and white, us versus them, thinking. And, this takes me to the main point I took from Frontline's shows on Facebook.

The left and right will disagree on whether or not Putin was trying to help President Trump win the election. We are missing another point that must be addressed. No matter Putin's views and hopes for President Trump, one thing is clear and should be an easy give for finding common ground. Putin was/is seeking to divide our society, to fan the flames of division amongst us. And, he wins every time we fall into our black and white, us versus them arguments, to the point that we forget to look at what is going on around us. There are plenty of pundits on both sides to argue with each other. What I would love to see, is one place, just one place (more would be better) where we can look at an issue, no matter party, and find common ground. Because, until that happens nothing will be solved, divisions will continue to grow and Putin gets exactly what he wanted.

So, let's talk about immigration. Can we all agree that all Americans (naturalized or natural born) have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and equal protection under American law, regardless of faith, race, gender, sexual orientation or ancestral roots? Can we agree that we would want to see a world where every person has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Regardless of whether or not we agree with a parent's decision to come to America, legally or illegally, can we agree that children should not be punished for their parent's decisions and should be protected from physical and emotional harm? Can we agree that those living in harm's way are desperate and seeking safety to escape their desperate situations? Can we agree that nobody supports fraud? But, can we also agree that our laws on immigration are not working and only encourage those living in desperation to seek an exodus from poverty-stricken, violent and corrupt landscapes by any means available? Can we agree that the world-wide legal means available are insufficient to address this reality? If so, that is a lot we can agree on. If not, then I ask you to give your thoughts about where we can agree. Let's focus on where we can agree. And, then, start working from there.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I worry there might be people among us who cannot agree that chikdren should not be accountable for their parents' decisions -- at least, regarding children of the wrong color or faith.