If we need anything now, it’s to stop talking and let the investigations into the tragedies of the past week move forward. After all, in the overwhelming number of big news stories, the early information is usually the least reliable, but that’s the information that becomes the narrative. Then when we get contradictory evidence, it’s much more difficult to alter our thinking and change our views because it doesn’t reinforce the narrative.
So let’s calm down and stop talking across each other. We should mourn, grieve, cry, reflect, breathe, consider, reconsider, and learn. This country is divided enough and social media isn’t helping. As a matter of fact, it’s hurting us right now. My conservative friends are full of bile and contempt for President Obama, Hillary Clinton and Black Lives Matter. My liberal friends have turned up the hate, if that’s even possible, on Donald Trump, the NRA and racist police officers.
This is our collective problem and we all share the blame for creating a society that has no patience for different perspectives. I abhor racism and justice denied, but I also detest making scapegoats out of police officers and people who legally carry firearms. I despise what Donald Trump and his supporters have said about women, Hispanic groups and African-Americans, but I also loathe the dismissal of Hillary Clinton’s email server and her misjudgement and rationalizations for setting one up at her house.
In the absence of someone who can bind up the nation’s wounds or appeal to a vast majority of Americans, we will need to get through this ourselves, so we’ll need to be a little more rational about this. The first step is to reach out to people you know who don’t share your political philosophy and to engage them in discussion without calling them an idiot or a Neanderthal or a mouth-breather. When you talk to them, describe what you feel and ask questions, as opposed to labeling and accusing them of being part of the problem. We are all part of the problem, and to deny that is to deny reality. Neither side has a monopoly on the truth.
Try it now while we wait for information that might make today’s news headlines obsolete and wrong. This is too important to let emotions rule the day.