Once upon a time, people listened and thought before they spoke. In days of yore, people were more open-minded and they considered differing views, usually loathe to react in any particular extreme. Boy, times sure have changed.
Somewhere along the way, our willingness to listen and learn has changed. Today, an increasing number of people have a knee-jerk reaction to anything they see or hear that may conflict with their own views — I say “may” conflict, because so many among us don’t even bother to listen and absorb before they react. And sadly, reactions today are one of two extremes: “I love it!” or, “I hate it!” This extreme rash behavior is in itself a notorious characteristic of negative people, but its also a direct result of a society that is increasingly focused on pessimism.
There is little question that a direct cause of this new acrimonious, all-or-nothing mentality is caused by politics. A line has been drawn in the sand and some expect all of us to choose sides — for them, you must be liberal or conservative and you must vote along those lines…period.
I happened upon an article this week which typifies this new political dynamic:
Some students reacted negatively to quotes they believed were from President Donald Trump’s recent State of the Union Address, until realizing they were actually quoting Barack Obama.
Campus Reform’s Cabot Phillips spoke to students outside John Jay College in New York City, who unanimously criticized the supposed Trump quotes, describing them as “warmongering,” “aggressive,” and “immature.”
The quotes, taken from some of Obama’s State of the Union addresses, included threats to destroy the Islamic State, statements of America’s military strength, and attacking China’s economic policy.
“Well, first off, ISIS is fake,” replied one man. “It’s something the government made up so they can continue doing what they want to do, which is world domination.”
“The way that he approaches things is very aggressive, and that’s not the best way to approach situations,” said another woman.
When Phillips revealed that the quotes were in fact from Barack Obama, many of the participants were surprised.
“Some people are quick to judge Donald Trump just because of a few things he’s said, but I think if they paid attention to his whole presidency, maybe they will have a better outlook on him and perspective in general,” added one thoughtful respondent.
Reaction to Donald Trump’s real State of the Union address was overwhelmingly positive, with a recent NBC News poll revealing that 60 percent of Americans approved of its content.
Students Hate Quotes from Trump’s State of the Union, Until Realizing They Are Obama’s
Now I’m not a fan of Breitbart News, nor am I a fan of President Trump. But, why should that keep me from reading an article from a source I normally don’t rely on? Just because it was on Breitbart, doesn’t necessarily make it untrue, nor does it mean I should knee-jerk reject it simply because it’s from a source I rarely visit.
This story is a good example of people rejecting words and ideas outright, simply because they believe them to be from someone they don’t like —a Democracy simply can’t function like that, because openness, including one’s mind, is critical.
Politicians have turned us into a nation divided. People vote party lines, often not even learning what a candidate stands for. When their candidate is elected and ultimately lets them down, we get the reaction “blech, they’re all the same!” If we know that, why not learn about all candidates and vote for the one that will best do the job, regardless of their party?
This week, our great nation saw yet another mass shooting at a School and our age of rage and hate is a direct cause of this tragedy. At some point, the American people will need to come back together to reunite our nation, so that “indivisible, with liberty and justice for all…” truly means something again. We’ve had enough divide and negativity and if we’re to thrive as a nation, we need to get back to our core values of positive thinking, cooperation, love and compassion.