I am at a meeting with a group that consists of Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Progressives, Conservatives, Libertarians, etc. I found it telling what my Republican friend had to say about Progressives.
I had to take a step back and look from within objectively to determine if the Republicans had a point in claiming the Left is just as mean as the Right. My answer is yes but with an asterisk.
My Republican friend said that she feels that Progressives are mean in expressing their values to others in a condescending manner. They tend not to listen but pre-judge. They tend to paint Republicans all with one brush. Ironically, she is not a Trump supporter and gets nailed as well by Conservatives who call her a RINO, Republican In Name Only.
Her statement is worth exploring. To be clear, I have been attempting to make my Progressive narrative more inviting by meeting people where they are instead of demanding that they are where I am.
Our chosen media informs most of us on a daily basis. Most of the time that media is biased to a particular ideology. Lest we consume them all in the aggregate and discern the information objectively based on science or composite knowledge, we are left unable to come to rational conclusions.
I won't try to create a false equivalency. But some ideological differences are neither right nor wrong. They are based on one's belief system but may have no complete scientific resolution. Big government versus small government is an example. From an entirely mathematical model, efficiency of scale in many areas trump efficiencies gained by a competitive for-profit motive. But society must decide if they are willing to pay more to have less government. It's neither wrong nor right. It is a choice. Animosity created because of choices of this type is unjustified. A civil dialogue may come to compromises or an entire shift in opinion.
Some ideological choices are evil. Texas and many red states' refusal to accept the Medicaid Expansion to the Affordable Care Act was merely wrong. Worse, it killed people. Progressives have two choices when trying to change the opinions of Conservative (and vice versa). They can be accusatory, or they can choose to bring them along civilly on moral grounds both believe in, survival of their fellow person. My friend insinuates that Progressives do not make an effort to engage in a manner other than one that vilifies them. Of course, Progressives feel that Conservatives close the door to informative dialogue.
Most people are good. They have different trigger points. It is the ability to navigate those on both sides that will move us forward as a country. As a Progressive, I feel many Conservatives tend to be set in their ways and resist change even when opposing data from reliable sources exist. Interestingly, my Republican friend feels the same way about many Progressives.
In other words right or wrong matters less than perception. Why? Until we can break the wrongness of what one perceives, one cannot get to what is wrong or right.
My goal then is to continue speaking the qualified and verified truth to the audience at large. I will try to meet everyone, Conservatives, and Progressives where they are, not by compromising my values, but by expressing them as best I can in terms that relate to their realities. I intend to continue deliberately listening first to earn their trust. Most importantly I will remember that being right is not sufficient or always absolute. And that is why we compromise.
Also published on Medium.