Missing in politics: Listening to others like you would want them to listen to you

(AP Photo)

Both parties must do a better job listening to each other and understanding each other — and stop using the radical actions of a few to reflect on the beliefs of a larger group. Very, very few Trump supporters are white supremacists. Very, very few Democrats support Antifa or removing statues of the Founders like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.

Do you want to know why I know this to be true?

Because I actually speak and listen to Democrats and Trump supporters. Instead of assuming their motives and their beliefs, I talk with them and, most importantly, listen.

Until we stop assuming the other political party is evil or has nefarious motives, we will continue to have unproductive gridlock in government and destructive division in our communities.

In the last week, I have spoken to smart people I respect who think people in other political parties have evil motives. A Democrat truly thought the majority of Trump voters are racists. A Republican truly thought the majority of Democrats want to tear down memorials to the Founders like Jefferson and Washington. Neither are even close to true.

Just because a few dozen radical Black Lives Matter protesters defaced a Jefferson Memorial at the University of Virginia doesn’t mean all Democrats support that or want that memorial removed — in fact, Democrats find these protesters’ actions disgusting and they respect Jefferson (many Democrats still host Jefferson-Jackson Dinners). Just because David Duke supports Trump doesn’t mean all Republicans are the KKK — in fact, all major Republicans have all denounced Duke and his ilk.

So, not to get preachy, but we, as a community and a nation, need to get better at talking together and understanding each other. As political leaders, the impetus is even more imperative.

One Party rule hasn’t been able to produce results in DC, and if we ever want to fix healthcare, taxes, transportation, or anything else, we need to listen to each other and work together. We can all defend our political principles while understanding others’ principles in a fair and productive way. Let’s get out of our echo chambers and get into respectful debates with those with whom we disagree.

We need to apply the Golden Rule to listening: Listen to others as you would want them to listen to you.

 

 


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