Let’s face it, our country is divided. Very seldom does any topic hit the six o’clock news that doesn’t in some way create a firestorm of heated opinions. Immigration, abortion, gay marriage, a mosque in New York, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are just a sampling of the topics that inevitably lead us to draw lines in the sand, demarcating who is in and who is out. We then lob rage-filled bombs from one side of the battlefield to the other as we attempt to show everyone just how dangerous the other opinion is.
Some people think this is the way it is to be. Should we not have our convictions? Shouldn’t we make it clear where we stand and then share every pertinent fact until we can convince (or wear out) the other side? The problem with this mentality is that it rarely works.
Let’s look at the issue of abortion as an example. We have the pro-life side naming their opponents such things as baby-killers or relating the practice of abortion to the Nazi Holocaust. Meanwhile the pro-choice side says the pro-life side doesn’t care about women’s rights or calls them antiquated or ignorant. Where does such name calling get us? Nowhere. Instead, we as a nation remain gridlocked on this issue while unwanted pregnancies and abortions abound.
I seriously doubt there are many pro-choicers who want to kill babies. That is why so much of the debate centers on when the life actually begins. At the same time I find it highly unlikely that all pro-lifers are uneducated and against women’s rights. So what would happen if we threw these stereotypes out the window and came to the table together to find a solution to the abortion epidemic? What if we all started with the common ground that we would like to have far fewer abortions than what is presently taking place? Could we then begin a collegial discussion that may lead to policy that reduces the numbers of abortions?
Most heated issues have some sort of common ground that we can seek out. In finding and focusing on our commonalities we will be more likely to seek productive solutions to our problems. As we near this year’s election, let us seek out candidates that will take seriously this call to step out of their partisan bunkers and cross the line to speak respectfully and productively with the other side. Which of Georgia’s candidates do you feel would do this best?