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In times of toxicity

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In times of toxicity

Identifying the Problem

Agree to disagree! We don’t hear that much these days. Be prepared to be attacked personally by those you disagree with. Rhetorically for sure. Sometimes even physically.

Whatever happened to the role of civil discourse in our society? When did everyone with a different opinion become an enemy? How did our culture become so adversarial?

There was a time when candidates for political office focused their campaign on a positive vision of America’s future. The views differed greatly but most were sincerely held.

What kind of a country harasses office holders because they are of the other political party? What kind of people interrupt a person’s dinner and force them and their family out of a restaurant?

Exactly when did we cease being able to respect one another and to intelligently and peacefully discuss our differences? Why have we begun demonizing political opponents?

The Nature of the Problem

This is more than just a political phenomenon. The whole social fabric of our society has been shredded by animus and hostility towards others.

Even the Aloha State has sacrificed much of the Spirit of Aloha in the interest of political ambition. We have a Senator who spews vitriol both in judicial hearings and in the national media. She is never seen smiling except when admiring how Planned Parenthood rips babies apart in the womb.

Our other Senator’s mission in life apparently is to paint our president as a misanthrope and the Republican Party as the scourge of the Earth. There is no positive vision of America or Hawaii as the 50th State.

Our Response to the Problem

If I saw any of our local politicians sitting and eating in a restaurant, do you know what I would do about it? Absolutely nothing. Let them enjoy their dinner. Mind my own business. Our political differences are irrelevant in that context.

But this hateful demeaning attitude is not unique to the Democrat Party. Some people who identify as conservatives also consider their role to be that of a pit bull. Attack dogs often go after anyone and everyone without distinguishing friend from foe.

This is what I refer to as the coarsening of America.

Not Making the Problem Worse

It’s easy to tear down what others have built. Just as terrorists like to destroy iconic buildings and artifacts that have existed for centuries, it is corrupt human nature to want to demolish the accomplishments of others.

But if you take down that which has stood the test of time, you will be leaving a void. There will be a vacuum which will be filled by something which could even be worse than what was there before.

Rectifying the Problem

As responsible patriotic citizens, it is incumbent upon us to have something of higher value to replace whatever we change. If we don’t like leaders of our own party, we have to have a viable plan to put others in their place who will do a better job.

If Republicans persist in cannibalizing one another, we are just bolstering the Democrat alternative which is far more antithetical to our way of life.

Democrats on the other hand are more adept at standing by one another even when they disagree philosophically. Their ideology is not monolithic, but their political infrastructure virtually is.

The average person is not very introspective. He or she is more akin to a lemming which follows a leader over a cliff. It’s easier to latch onto someone and walk in lockstep behind them than it is to think for oneself.

Thinking Beyond the Problem to the Solution

Those who ask not just “What?” but also “Why?” are the exception rather than the rule. Even more rare is the man or the woman who consistently sees a better way and asks “Why not?”

Quote that Transcends Politics

“Some men see things as they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were, and ask why not.” ~ Robert Kennedy

Problem Solving 101

Maintaining a positive attitude is not a sign of weakness, feeble-mindedness and naïveté as some of our detractors would have you believe. We do not have to be as mean, rotten and nasty as our opponents to succeed. In fact that is counterproductive. We must not destroy the decency of our society in order to preserve it.

Those who lack the knowledge to substantively address issues resort to attacking the messenger to try to intimidate and distract him or her in order to divert attention away from the subject at hand. Don’t fall for this ploy.

Those caught up in a cult of personality along with those blinded by ideology and those enslaved by their own personal ambition will try any and every tactic to avoid responding to unanswerable questions. Keep your eyes focused on the path ahead and don’t be misled.

Being Part of the Solution Rather than Part of the Problem

Constructive criticism is a healthy thing and quite necessary. We must speak out about the wrongheaded policies and actions of those in power. But we don’t have to poison the atmosphere in so doing. Toxicity will destroy the one who applies it along with the target.

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