Tuesday, June 19, 2018


Am I getting too engaged in politics? I have been posting a good deal on Facebook in the past few days, and have been receiving a good deal of response to my posts. I hung out a Facebook "shingle" a couple of days ago, emblazoned with the words: Can We Talk? Given the current, seemingly unbridgeable divide between the political left and the political right, it was an invitation from this one declared and unrepentant liberal for "reasonable" conservatives (or Republicans) to engage in some form of discussion about issues that concern us all.

There was not a single response from a conservative voice, which suggests that either all my Facebook "friends" are liberals, like myself; or that, if there be conservatives amongst them, they are reluctant to declare themselves as such. In either case, the conclusion I must draw from the experience is that I am more insulated than I care to be from those with whom I disagree.

Responses from my liberal friends fell pretty much into two categories: those who agreed with me that there must be some reasonable conservatives out there and that it would be the worth the effort to try to engage them in some dialogue; and those who clearly thought I was being naive to believe in anything reasonable on the right side of the political spectrum and who scoffed at me for my attempt. It was suggested, even, that my effort was ingenuous, in that I was likely as intransigeant on many issues as those with whom I sought to dialogue; and that to invite them was to imply that I was right, they wrong, and that the invitation was no more than an attempt to impose my superior wisdom on the misguided.

Some truth to that, of course. Despite my claim to an open mind, I have a baseline of convictions from which it would be virtually impossible to move me. That, for example, access to health care is a universal right, when there are those who do not share this belief; there are some who abide by the notion that the human condition is G*d-given, that those who suffer from ill health, or poverty, or hunger are simply the undeserving in G*d's eye--or subject to His greater, and unknowable purposes. To be truthful, I would fight tooth and nail against that proposition, and would never be open to persuasion otherwise.

Still, I would like to believe that dialogue is possible on some important issues, and that to learn to simply listen to each other would be a step in the right direction. Otherwise, it seems to me, we are left with nothing but cynicism and despair, and a future in which further division and further mutual hatred and distrust are inevitable. Which serves no single person, let alone humanity.

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