With Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror, we head further into the holiday season, a time in which the desire for “peace on Earth and goodwill to men” is more oft and intentionally uttered.
I love that. I love the unifying craving for peace. In terms of the current socio-political climate, however, such status can be challenging indeed. In fact, one of the reasons it seems so challenging is because each of us are tempted to make our peace conditional; in other words, “I can only have peace if ____________.”
But what if our peace was not conditional? What if our peace was dependent on no one else? What if we learned to love one another so well, that their faults, wrongdoing, and imperfections no longer got in our way? (Never mind our faults, wrongdoing, and imperfections…)
Marc A. Thiessen — from the Washington Post Writers Group — wrote a fantastic op-ed last week, sharing insight, no doubt, that if realized, significantly increases our peace. Note the following excerpt (with all emphasis mine):
“I’m a rock-ribbed conservative who wants Republicans to keep control of Congress. But I’m not unhappy that Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone appears to have lost the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District.
Why? Because he insulted my mother.
Trailing his Democratic opponent in a district President Donald Trump won by 20 points, but which still has more registered Democrats than Republicans, Saccone hit on a genius idea to turn out the vote: At a campaign rally just before voters went to the polls, he declared that liberals hate America and hate God. ‘I’ve talked to so many of these on the left,’ he said. ‘And I tell you, many of them have a hatred for our country… My wife and I saw it again today: They have a hatred for God.’
My mother is a liberal Democrat, and I can tell you: She does not hate America or God. Quite the opposite — she is one of the most patriotic people I know. She grew up in Nazi-occupied Poland, fought with the Polish underground, was taken to Germany as a prisoner of war, was liberated by Patton’s Army and moved to London. Eventually, she became a doctor and made her way to the United States, where she became a U.S. citizen. There is no one prouder to be an American…
She’s also a proud Democrat. We disagree about politics, but we both love America and want to make this country great. We just have different ideas about the best ways to do it.
So when Saccone says liberals hate America, he’s talking about my mother…
Whether you are liberal, conservative or in between, I’ll bet that you have a loved one who disagrees with you about politics. It might be a sibling or a parent or a beloved cousin, aunt or uncle — or even your kids. We should not stand for politicians from either party who insult them or question their motives or their patriotism. Too often, politicians on both the left and right do just that…
We see it in the gun control debate that followed the Parkland, Fla., school shooting. Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy said that if you’re not in favor of immediate action on guns, ‘you’re an accomplice’ to the Parkland killer. Seriously? Do you have a loved one who disagrees with you about gun control? Are they accomplices to mass murder? No, they just disagree that gun control is the solution.
The problem exists on both sides of the aisle, and it’s not just politicians. American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks recalls how a few years ago he was giving a speech at a large conservative event. ‘I said that while my own views are center-right, I have no reason to believe progressives are stupid or evil,’ he recalls. ‘An audience member countered, ‘You’re wrong: They are stupid and evil.’ ’
Progressives are not stupid and evil. Conservatives are not racists and misogynists. Our fellow Americans who disagree with us are not our enemies. They are our fellow Americans who differ with us. And we should not put up with politicians, on the left or right, who can’t seem to understand this.”
Those who disagree with us are not our enemies; they are not ignorant and evil or full of hate and hypocrisy. They simply differ on ideas and approach. If we cannot comprehend that reality, my strong sense is any individual craving of peace will not be realized, regardless of season.