Commentary: Can’t we all agree to disagree?

Frank Calio

With the oncoming presidential election becoming heated in a few months, I think it may be a good time to call a ‘time out.’

It’s OK to disagree, but not go to war over issues of disagreement.

With political comments on Facebook getting closer to the election we need to think before we react to political comments.

Remember the warnings about political parties and foreign governments hacking our FB accounts and predictions; this election cycle will be worse.

I recalled last election how Facebook exploded with facts that were untrue, just passed on without research, I lost it. Just the thought people on important matters to potential voters, a presidential election, not checking their damaging post before sharing. It is because that particular post is what we want to read and believe.

It only takes a few minutes to Google and FactCheck the post to check if the content is factual.

I heard of families not speaking to each other because of political disagreements. Lucky for me, I didn’t go there, although at times I could see my conversations with some members of family turning sour, but I had enough sense to either change the subject, or shut my mouth and bite my tongue. I think I had to bite my tongue more than once.

Besides political wars, we’ve seen issues which separated family members; bi-racial marriages, gay or LGBT family members, abortion issues, being a liberal or conservative, choice of religion and many more issues which separate family and friends.

I think what we lack is respect for the other person’s beliefs and feelings. Whether I’m having a discussion, I always put myself in others shoes, and imagine what they’re thinking about.

Can’t we all agree to disagree and just be friends? Offering one’s viewpoint, or statement is not conclusive, and remember everyone is entitled to their opinions. First amendment!

Some of the ways to deal with friends with different political views is to practice “hungry listening.” A good friend has sincere interest in finding out as much as you can about their friends’ point of view. If you’re really sincere about staying involved in this friendship, stay interested in your friends’ daily life and experiences. Let your questions reflect this deep interest, and don’t get caught up discussion of political likes and dislikes.

Don’t try to change your friend’s views, avoid imposing your political beliefs on your friends. You wouldn’t want to find your own social media feed full of opinions you disagree with, so be careful not to do this to others. It’s OK to include occasional political opinions, but you don’t need to post your opinions day after day.”

I don’t like smear campaigns, especially those sent out by both National Political Committees. Now we have to look out for foreign interests, especially Russia, for posting damaging FB posts.

I mentioned earlier, agree to disagree. If you find yourself getting emotional during a conversation, it may be a good time to take a break. Knowing when to walk away from a conversation can save a friendship before you say something that you can’t take back.

Find areas where you agree. Both sides believe in the second amendment and want a safe world for all, but we have a different approach how to do it; their should be a middle ground.

Everyone is tired of our escalating national debt. What programs should have reduced or increased spending is an issue. Again a solution should be a middle ground agreement.

I think a lot of the tension in this country is Congress and presidents, past and present are not showing bi-partisan efforts of trying to work together. If parties try to cross the aisle and work with the opposition they are chastised by their party.

VP Joe Biden is a current example of that. During his tenure as U.S. senator he often crossed over to the other side for support to pass his legislation. Now his party is being critical of that effort.

During my younger years, legislators crossed the aisle to get monumental legislation passed. Today unfortunately, it’s all about ME.

Let’s give it a try. I may not have a tongue left after this election, which has the potential to be nastier than the last one, but we must try or we will destroy each other.

Frank Calio is a Laurel resident and former State Election Commissioner.

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