Reaching Across the Aisle – Religion and Politics

I’m not getting any younger. I know, I know, none of us is. The point though is, most of my children are grown. I have one still at home, but he’s a late-life child for me.

When I look at how things work, it tends to be from a position I hope is one of a moderately mature individual.

Though I may disagree with others, I don’t tend to allow that to foment hate or even serious dislike. People don’t always see eye-to-eye, that’s just life.

Most of the time, my desire is to work to understand how others feel and believe. Simply put, I wish to know what drives their ideas and perspectives.

On rare occasion, doing that even causes me to change my viewpoint. I’ll get the opportunity to chat with someone who looks at the world differently than I do, and realize there’s something to their position. It often doesn’t happen in the moment in which I speak with them, but every once in a while, I decide my way of looking at a given thing is incorrect, and how they see it is more on the money.

The more exposure I gain to a variety of different perspectives though, the less likely I am to change my way of thinking or doing business. That seems counter to what should happen, but the reality is, there’s more similarity between various ways of viewing the world, than differences.

What happens as a result is, I’m introduced to a different vantage point, only to find that it looks a lot like one I’ve already seen. It might be slightly variant, but not enough to make the salient points of the vista, change from what I’ve already been subjected to.

People say older folks tend to be more closed-minded than younger ones. May I respectfully submit the reason is, a few million gallons of water have made their way under the bridge?

Older folks didn’t fall off the turnip truck last night. That doesn’t mean we’re entirely closed to new ideas, just that what’s new to you, may be old hat to us.

Those of you with a few years on you probably know well what I’m saying. Young folks bring you something they think is new and fresh, only to be told you’re well aware and have formed the opinions you hold with that in mind.

But what has all this to do with the idea of reaching across the aisle? It’s possible the light of understanding has already dawned on you, but please allow me to elucidate for those who haven’t gotten the message. You can follow along if you already understand, and confirm what you expect I’m about to say.

You may’ve notice that many in leadership positions in the U. S. government aren’t getting any younger either. The obvious result is, the people in question have also been exposed to a good many ideas along the way.

That means, those in government, particularly at a national level, have had a good long time to consider what they do and don’t support and why. The more an idea or position is central to them, the more likely it is they will have thought seriously about it, and decided what was and wasn’t reasonable where that thing was concerned.

So when somebody expects them to “reach across the aisle” where a foundational tenet is concerned, it’s totally understandable when they have no desire to do that.

It matters not at all whether the person in question is a liberal, a conservative, a Republican, a Democrat, a Libertarian, a Communist, a Socialist, an Independent or any other thing.

The next question that comes to mind is, “Considering the folks asking others to reach across the aisle are likely fully aware, their opposition has extremely strong arguments for not doing so, and further, that the ones asking, are no more interested in doing the stretch than those they ask, is it actually disingenuous for them to make statements saying their adversaries ought to do so?”

I’m pretty sure you recognize that this question is not quite rhetorical. If someone can proffer an answer that makes me change my viewpoint, I’m willing to hear it. What’s my expectation that’ll happen? Right up next to nonexistent.

People making the argument that folks with solid reasons to be as they are and do as they’re doing should be willing to relent, and accept the positions of their detractors without hesitation—knowing full well those folks will not be willing to do likewise—are generally acting in bad faith.

They would have you believe they’re willing to accept positions counter to their core beliefs without hesitation, or in fact, at all.

It would take a simple review of what folks voted for in terms of legislation and the stated reasons for failing to vote for the things their opponents proposed, to see this isn’t the case.

The thing is, I don’t expect them to betray what they believe. I don’t think they should be counted on to abandon their dearly held positions just because not doing so will cause them to be viewed as unrelenting.

It’s simple, if someone tells you the way you manage your money, or your household is wrong, you may look at what they’re saying and—maybe, just maybe—change your way of doing business. On the other hand, you might look at their position and decide they’re all wet. At that point, though you may seem unyielding, you’ll likely continue to do things as you’ve done them all along.

Should anybody be surprised by that? I don’t think so.

It’s just not so difficult to grasp. People don’t reach across the aisle, because after years and years taken to decide what they believe and why, they’re not going to be easily swayed to take actions that are in contrast to wisdom gained. What side of the aisle they’re on doesn’t change that. To expect them to act otherwise is to attempt to shift how people view them because they won’t back down, nothing more as a rule.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Prove you're human *