Happy New Year

One of my several New Year’s resolutions is to blog a little more often. In fairness, this is one of the easier resolutions I have to make good on, especially since “more often,” after my near lack of activity last year, is a very low bar.

The Dalai Lama suggested the following:

“Today, as we wish each other a Happy New Year, let us determine to be more sincere, compassionate, warm-hearted human beings, trying to make our world a more equal place. That way we’ll actually make it a happy year.”

I think this is as good a place as any to start. I’m going to try to approach 2014 with this in mind.

Yesterday, I can across a Facebook post from a local politician in our county.  It read:

bonginoWithout a doubt, the person that tweeted this message is out there.  Insensitive.  Mr. Bongino, our local politician, is a Republican – so we can assume that “JackMack” is a liberal and that their policy debate on health or auto insurance has devolved quickly.

I was similarly struck by the comments people wrote to Mr. Bongino’s post. 

– “As the saying goes, “Never argue with an idiot, they only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience”, Since most on the left are idiots this fits perfectly.”

– “The hatred from the liberal left is beyond the pale. We stand with you because you are a man of integrity as opposed to the tweeter.”

– “Dan this is Typical Liberal and remember they are full of Hate and Anger. This is how they were raised.”

– “Coming from a guy who wants everything for free. I hate scumbag liberals”

– “What an” Oxygen Theif” , these folks aren’t even human.”

It was this last sentence that struck me.  Dehumanization of your opposition is a necessary step as we line people up for killing.  Murder is defined as taking the life of another human being – but when that other being is not human, is it still murder? 

I’ve noticed our political discourse in general, liberal v. conservative, is generally toxic.  Tune in to MSNBC or Fox for any period of time and you’ll see the built in biases and ad hominem attacks from both sides.  I’m sure that I too cannot escape the fact that I’ve dabbled in or contributed in no small way to the toxicity.

So, in keeping with Dalai Lama’s advice, an additional resolution I’m taking is to not say things that contribute to toxic discourse or in anyway question the humanity of someone I happen to disagree with.  We don’t have to agree with divergent policy views, nor should “winning” an ideological debate require crushing the opposing sides argument in addition to their humanity. 

If you’re still in the market for a New Year’s resolution, maybe you’ll join me on this and we can try to restore a little civility in our approach to people that see things different than we do.

Here’s to 2014!  Let’s make it better than the last several years.





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2 Responses to Happy New Year

  1. Janna says:

    This entry reminds me of my favorite sign from the Daily Show rally on the DC mall – it said “I disagree with you but I don’t think your Satan.”

    Great post as always. I look forward to more in the new year.

  2. Linda says:

    The Nazis spent years dehumanizing the Jews. It made it easier to remove them and kill them. I see that kind of rhetoric on both sides of the political spectrum and wonder if the people who spout this trash really would be willing to die for what they espouse. I doubt even the most rabid tweet writer would be willing to put his life on the line to keep someone else from having health insurance. If he is, then we need to include mental health coverage because he has a serious need.
    I would also like to point out that the correct spelling of “theif” is thief. The insult loses some depth when it includes misspellings.
    I’m glad you are back, Sean. I enjoy your blog posts.

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