As humans we have a vested interest in being right. It’s why we argue. We are willing to lose loved ones and friends in order to prove ourselves to be right. Wars are fought and people die over desires to be right. An extreme example, perhaps. But, when you boil every disagreement down to its most basic beginning the root cause is always right versus wrong. Opinion or fact doesn’t really matter because when someone so strongly believes they are right, they cannot see reason and there is little that can be done to persuade them otherwise.
This is one of my shortcomings. Much of my beliefs and opinions are ones I hold dear and will fight tooth and nail to defend. Many of these are based in science and proven facts, but many are also strictly opinions (like the fact that Pumpkin Spice is an abomination).
After this election I have come to see that this one-sided approach to life and politics is detrimental to our country and to myself. Why? Because we are slowly working our way towards divides and wounds that cannot be bridged or healed.
My fundamental understanding and perception of Right vs. Left is this … the Left has deep concern for human beings and the Right has deep concern for money. A simplistic view, absolutely. But, every disagreement on policy that I have had with the Right has boiled down to this: I would argue the benefits to mankind and Americans and they would argue the impact it had on their wallets.
I may be naive, but I truly want to believe that the Right is not as callous as this perception has led me to believe. So, my challenge to myself is to learn and to understand where the Right is coming from. To put aside my personal biases and listen to their core beliefs and values. I’ve taken the time to do this with the Left, but not with the Right. It is far easier to stomach beliefs you agree with than to digest those with which you do not.
The first step I am taking is to listen to Paul Ryan’s audio book, A Better Way. Once I wrap up Cory Booker’s United, I’ll be submitting my ears and time to Paul Ryan. The challenge will be to listen with an open mind.
Now, I know Paul Ryan isn’t the end all be all of the Right, but it’s a start and I am open to book recommendations. Leave yours in the comments.