Sunday, January 20, 2013

our binary nation

Eli Saslow has a poignant story in the Washington Post about two families, each with a parent employed at the same factory for 23 years, who live in quite separate political worlds. One is a Republican who believes that Obama is destroying America, the other a Democrat who is hopeful and supportive of the President. They even gravitate to separate break rooms off the factory floor to avoid political discussions. The reporter notes that we are a 50/50 nation politically, that Ohio and the community he visited, divided almost exactly evenly in the presidential election.

What makes half of us see black and anger and the other half white and hope? Isn't there some common ground, some shared consensus on reality? Maybe we have segmented ourselves into media echo chambers. Maybe we are extrapolating from one concern or grievance into an all-encompassing world view.

It's not good. We need to reach out, and listen to people with differing views, and offer our own views with less certitude and more humility. And no, that's not easy.

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