Tea party protesters turn extreme… conservatives go on rampage… the entire republican party are right-wing extremists! Is it just me or is the media getting hysterical? Knowing that a majority of news and media organizations are centered left, it does not surprise me when conservatives and republicans (not always the same) are negatively scrutinized with greater frequency in news media. This is not your typical rant about the “liberal media” but rather an analysis of America as a whole.
America is a land of unique opportunity. With so much going on in the news about politics and the availability to find answers to questions about political ethics and actions, every citizen has the opportunity to discuss politics on a regular basis.
Fundamental to American society is the history of its’ revolution, rights, and religious freedom . These foundational principles are part of all we do and discussing politics and religion is both complimentary and contentious.
But was does this have to do with “right wing extremists” and the “left centered media”? The debate today in American news and media and the people is over the fundamental principles. The 3 R’s: Revolution, Rights, and Religious freedom. These principles are determinant to every debate America has, but the nature of politics means that often we are going to come to a different conclusion.
The great challenge in discussing politics is the effort to be open minded and unoffensive. You see there is a difference between agreeing with someone and trying to see their point. When you agree with them you see their point of view as your own and it is fundamentally agreeing with your experiences and beliefs. Seeing someone else’s point of view does not mean you have to agree with them though.
The problem in America is not that there are extremists or biased media sources, it is bound to happen because of the nature of humanity and our government. The problem is with how we deal with these differences.
Politics pose threats to any mild discussion because they are rooted deep within each individuals core identity. Each person believes and understands things differently because of the way they were raised, educated, and experienced. There unique identity comes from a mixture of experiences and personal preferences to form an ideological belief specific to each individual. Within politics their also encompasses an ethical/moral belief system differing in every individual. Thus the deeply personal nature of politics and why it is so divisive.
We must learn to understand others when trying to discuss politics and see events as they really are. Because my experiences are unique to my own life, I see the world in a way that no other person on this earth can possibly have experienced. This is because my previous experiences have formed my perspective uniquely to then experience new things. So no two people are alike. We must then learn to see things the way others see them. Again, we do not have to reach the same conclusion (agree), but we should see the reasons for why they reach their results.
Once we understand why they think and feel the way they do, we can then determine whether we agree with them. Not before. Close minded and rude people are those never seeing or understanding the other person’s perspective because they decided it was wrong before they began to listen. This characteristic is not a plague to either party, media organization, or ideologue but rather to people as a whole.
With a proper understanding of the other viewpoint, agreeing or disagreeing with them actually strengthens our answers because we know the other views answer context of their reasoning. Thus the more we listen the finer and more specific our own understanding is for why we are right. We also can become more civil.
Avoid being rude and listen to others to understand them. Then make your analysis after you have added what they have to say into what you already know and experience. You may not change your mind, that is okay, but at least you thought critically about why you believe or think the way you do. You now know a little bit more of what you believe.
Then we wont worry about labels, names, slandering, or bias because we will become secure in our own understanding and knowledgeable about the others reasoning. For every argument there is a reason, often founded in good reasons, why things should be the way the need to be. Our priorities just might not be the same as theirs, and that’s okay!
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Graphics Credit: http://bobcesca.com/blog-archives/2009/01/your_liberal_me.html