The current election cycle has been ugly to say the least. Of course there is the usual stuff with the candidates, but that is nothing unusual. I’m talking more about the discourse among the masses.
It’s really not just the media either. More than any time can remember, common people are vocal, argumentative, even mean spirited about the candidates and their supporters. The level of personal attachment to this election is at an all time high.
So how is it that so many people living similar lives, with similar jobs and similar families, in the same country, can be so motivated fear in opposite directions. If I ask some of my family members, electing Clinton will surely mean the end of our country and democracy as we know it. They believe this. If I ask some of my close friends, electing Trump will be the demise of our country and push us toward worldwide catastrophe. They also truly believe this.
Many people I know believe our country is facing an imminent threat, and only a strong, take no bullshit leader like Trump can get us through it. Others believe our country is making great strides towards personal and societal freedom, and a leader like Trump would set us back a century.
We never stop to consider why the other side feels the way they do. We never consider that they have a different perception that makes their view of the world just as real to them as ours is to us. As a result no amount of arguing and name calling will change anyone’s perception. The only thing that has a chance is to listen, try to understand the reasons for differing perceptions, and build upon a healthier world view that understands that just because someone sees things differently doesn’t make them wrong.