Do Those on the Other Side Love Their Children Too?

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Well here we are, caught in a maelstrom. The fear has never felt so intense, the fracture never so deep. Stephen Colbert said 50% of people on both sides feel terror of what the other side might do. Abject terror. Those who fervently voted for their candidate, and those who merely voted against the other candidate. Everyone believes “their side” is right, “the other side” is wrong—and they believe it with all their heart.

My daughter said, “I just don’t know how healing is possible.”

This whole political machine runs on polarization. Flattening people’s concerns into one dimension, squishing out all the nuance. No critical thinking. Just flat.

Vitriolic epithets. Unfriending. Blocking. Even of best friends or family.

You’re for him or you’re for her. Republican or Democrat. To agree with them means you disagree with me. Multi-layer human issues have become caricatured into black and white—a binary.

Human beings are far too layered and multifaceted to be shoved into a binary, flattened into a caricature.

Our nation cannot sustain this type of thinking. We as human beings, as families, as communities, cannot sustain this type of living.

What have we come to? Is this who we want to be? And what do we do now?

Sting’s 1985 song Russians beautifully reflects the fear surrounding the nuclear threat of the Cold War. I have taken some poetic license and modernized the lyrics a little. I want to share it with you today…

In the right and left areas

there’s a growing feeling of hysteria.


Conditioned to respond to all the threats

In social media frenzy and media blitz.

 One side says, “We will bury you.”


I don’t subscribe to this point of view.

It’d be such an ignorant thing to do


If the other side loves their children too.


 How can I save my little boy

from those I think would steal his joy?


There is no monopoly on common sense


On either side of the political fence.


 We share the same biology, regardless of ideology.


Believe me when I say to you,


I hope they love their children too


 There is no historical precedent

To put the words in the mouth of those we elect


There’s no such thing as a winnable war,


It’s a lie we don’t believe anymore.


 One side says, “We will protect you.”


I don’t subscribe to this point of view.

Believe me when I say to you,

I hope they love their children too

 We share the same biology, regardless of ideology.

But what might save us, me and you,

Is if the other side loves their children too

What is so difficult is that our love for our children – regardless of your issue – is what drives our passions, and also our fears. What do we do when the thing that justifies our anger is the same thing that could save us?

This is not a new problem. This did not start with this election. It goes back further than we know, but let’s take it all the way back to the Civil War. Maybe that is a gaping wound that has never really been treated and healed.

In that war, there were many divisions… North vs South, Free vs Slave, Urban vs Rural, Working Class vs Privileged Class. In countless real-life cases, you had biological brother vs biological brother fighting face-to-face, hand-to-hand. Both felt justified, both felt horrible. Both felt trapped by circumstances, both felt like they just wanted to lay their guns down and go home.

What resulted was a war that was only resolved when the other side was beaten into submission and ran out of ammunition. There was no coming to the table to heal, no standing together in common ground.

Is that where we are heading? I hope and pray with all my heart that the answer is no.

Can we sit down and find that love for our children is enough common ground to begin to talk, to listen, to work together for our children’s sake, and then to heal and reconcile? The answer to that question is yes.

The real question is… will we?

What might save us, me and you, is if the other side loves their children too.

 

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