Dear Political Opponent,
Our parties are at war. It’s undeclared, of course; more of a military action, but no less real for that.
The distance between us stretches as a vast, barren wasteland which few dare to cross.
Sometimes I take my life in my hands and venture out into no-mans-land. I try to avoid the internet landmines and the exploding rockets tossed by TV’s talking heads, ducking low and weaving from side to side. Just when I think I’ve successfully navigated the demilitarized zone…BANG! A sniper hiding in the weeds lobs a particularly nasty verbal grenade that goes off right in my ear. I’m left curled up in a fetal position on the battlefield, whimpering for my momma.
We aren’t even through the primaries, for goodness sake! It’s only going to get worse.
My nerves are shot. I’m shell-shocked. I can’t take it any more.
Here is my proposal: Let’s have an Interwebz Geneva Convention and adopt the Marquis of Pegsbury rules.
You won’t say I hate the earth and just want to trash it and…
I will do all I can to preserve it for our children and our children’s children.
I’ll stop painting your political leaders as stupid, greedy fat-cats and…
You’ll stop saying that the heads of my party are elitist, immoral communists.
You’ll assume my politicians want to work together for our country’s good and…
I’ll assume your politicians aren’t just interested in personal power and lining their own pockets through back-office deals.
We’ll both keep our eyes open, though, just in case we’re wrong.
I won’t say that you don’t care if women and small children are driven out to starve in the streets, and…
You won’t say that I want to tax away all your money until you end up in the poorhouse.
You won’t dismiss a person or their ideas because of their race, and…
I won’t assume every time you disagree with me it’s because you’re a racist.
I’ll stop saying you are trying to destroy our individual liberties and…
You’ll do your best to preserve those liberties.
You’ll stop making people out to be villains just because they have money and…
I’ll reach a hand back to my struggling brother to help him join me on the path to prosperity.
I’ll filter all that you say through the assumption that you really do love your country and want what’s best for her, and…
You’ll assume that I care deeply for my fellow man and want to do the right thing for him.
This doesn’t mean we agree on the best course for our country. No, we still disagree. In fact we are pretty far apart on most issues. But let’s agree that reasonable people can disagree. We’ll make the tone of our disagreement a little less disagreeable. Agreed?
If we stop screaming insults about one another’s parentage (except for “yo momma” jokes, and then only if they’re really funny) maybe, in the silence, each will be able to hear what the other has to say. Who knows? Maybe we’ll learn something new and come to appreciate the other’s point of view. Maybe not. But we can at least try to reduce the number of casualties.
At least until y’all come to your senses and surrender.