I have just about given up on reforming anyone but myself. Even that is ultimately hopeless. But I do hope to cooperate with the One who can and will reform me. In the meantime, here’s one way I represent the wedge of polarization. Absent humility, and given a desire for power that supercedes any desire for peace, there is a self-feeding wedge that divides “us” from “them.”
It’s probably obvious that I had our current President and his political opponents in mind. This was written a day or two after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. It is my opinion that political “leaders” heighten conflict by their careless and uncharitable words. When they resort to “all or nothing” tactics, it feeds anger and a sense of desperation in the general populace. One could easily conclude that Trump’s remarks foment racism (and ARE racist). But I’d argue that when every word coming out of his mouth is branded as racist, and it’s clear to an objective listener that some of the words are NOT (necessarily) racist, that in itself raises tensions. Civil discourse is incumbent on ALL parties in conflict.
I think the following interview between Ben Shapiro (libertarian) and Jonathan Haidt (left-leaning centrist) is instructive both in the insights of Haidt and the respectful responses of Shapiro:
August 5, 2021 Reflection
It’s interesting to see how I was thinking about divisiveness in August 2019. What changed over the ensuing two years?
- divisiveness INCREASED and
- my confidence in pontificating about what is right and what is wrong, what is wisdom and what is foolishness DECREASED