Why are we defining others by political affiliation?

I know I am not the only one to witness this, or even to fall victim to this.

We hop on Facebook and see a status, article, or meme in our newsfeed that hits a cord within us. We either take to heart the message and whole-heartedly agree, or we are very frustrated by the statement being made. We decide to comment. (Maybe that is the first mistake and we should just continue scrolling..? But then, how will we have engaging, thought-provoking conversations and grow our understanding and perspective on the world if we refuse to engage?)

Within minutes, we hear that sound of a Facebook notification and we check to see what it is for. Of course, we are being alerted that someone has replied to our comment. Chances are it is not someone who agrees with whatever our remark was. Maybe their first comment is friendly enough, and so we choose to engage further with this person. Before we can even close out of the app, we get another notification. They’ve replied. Creatures of habit and victims of pavlov’s theory, we immediately read their reply. Maybe this second post is still in good dialogue. Maybe. In which case we further pursue the conversation, hoping to gain more information or perspective on how their opinions on said topic have been formed. I usually try to respond only with facts, and link to legitimate sources and encourage them to have their own opinion, but to make sure they are still educating themselves with reality and not camping in the corner that their opinions are facts. (There is a difference people.) Ping. Another notification. Another comment. By now, the person has grown angry (if not previously) and has gone off the deep end with name calling, belittling and determining what political camp you belong to based on your comments.

Hmmm, I wonder. Since when have we determined to identify someone by their political affiliation? When did this become a threat, an insult, something to throw in another person’s face (or rather in the comments) so brazenly, when they have no idea what your belief system, educational status, or political affiliation are? (Unless you’re one of those who announces it before digressing into your comment.) It is really ironic to me, I guess, in part because I affiliate myself with no political party – yet have been accused of being a looney liberal idiot, a crazy conservative schizophrenic, and many other WILD names. I have to laugh, because people become such brazen keyboard warriors in private, and find it completely acceptable to demean another human for no other reason than the fact their ideologies and opinions don’t align with their own.

Step back and imagine if our grandparents would’ve acted this way. Just consider them at Sunday brunch and their neighbor strolls in, “Hey you ass hole stupid pot liberal. You’re a dotard because your beliefs aren’t shared by me, and if your beliefs aren’t my beliefs- its war of the words. Also, I’m not sharing any of my tomatoes with you this year you idiot!!”

Look folks, we are not defined by our political affiliation. We are ALL human. We have the same basic needs. And we need one another. (Cue folks thinking, “no I don’t!”) Yes, yes you really do. It takes all types of folks to make the world go round. America is a melting pot for good reason and it has improved us year after year to collaborate views, ideologies, thoughts and opinions. We GROW from it. We learn from it. We improve because of it. That ‘liberal snowflake’ might be your child or grandchild’s educator, and is teaching your child/grandchild how to problem solve, how to compute, how to code, use critical thinking etc. Maybe they own your favorite restaurant and know how to make Stromboli better than your family recipe books has ever taught you. That crazy conservative may be your garbage man, or the farmer who provides sustenance for your family, or maybe your homeowner’s insurance agent.

I ask: Can we stop attempting to define someone by their political party? Can we stop acting like this matters or that you cannot speak to or associate with someone who MAY or may not have a different political opinion than yours? America is great because we aren’t all forced to hold one set of beliefs. We are empowered with freedom. Freedom of thought, freedom of opinion. Freedom to form our own code of what we feel is wrong and right. Your views are no better than the opposing views – no matter what your ego tells you. It is the beauty of this freedom that makes America great – so please, stop trying to belittle or judge others for exercising this right just as you have.

God bless every one of you humans. God loves us all and holds not labels to us, so lets stop labeling others as anything other than humans.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for this day. Thank you for encouraging me and keeping me humble in my pursuit to encourage others with love and forgiveness of each other. Thank you for growing my own understanding of your divine grace and mercy. Thank you for loving me when I don’t feel very lovable, and thank you for putting the fire in my heart to be just another one of your warriors of love of others. I trust that the words you have provided me will be an encouragement to even just one other human. That is enough. It is all though you that I live, that I breathe, that I love, that I forgive, and that I write. In your heavenly name, I pray.

Amen.

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