Politics are so contentious right now that it can be tempting to bury your head in the sand and ignore it, but yesterday one brave redditor asked, “Conservatives of Reddit, what is something you'd like to fully explain to a liberal?” Conservatives shared what they want liberals to know, liberals responded, and, amazingly, the whole thing seems to have remained fairly civil. A key message that emerged was something that people on both sides of the aisle need to be reminded of: We’re all just human.
Politics was already incredibly divisive before the 2016 election, and things only seem to have gotten worse since Trump took office. Both parties tend to cast the other in hyperbolic terms, labeling political opponents as monstrous and inhuman, bent on destroying America and even democracy itself. The ubiquity of social media and the 24-hour news cycle have only added fuel to the fire.
And I get it. There are a lot of crucial issues at stake right now — including healthcare and immigration, to name only a couple — that impact people’s lives in profound, intimate ways and that lack simple solutions. It’s easy for one’s passion about these subjects to segue into rage, and from there into hatred. It’s easy to cast the people that disagree with you as fundamentally flawed, even evil. But that’s not very useful, is it?
It’s nice to see that this AskReddit thread is (for the most part) civil. People debate the issues, but with respect and with what seems to be a real desire to understand the perspectives of others. We could all use more of that.
Here’s what some of the conservatives of Reddit had to say:
1. "Don't confuse rejecting your plan with rejecting your goal."
A number of people pointed out that conservatives and liberals have a lot of the same goals, but disagree fundamentally about how to achieve them.
2. "Convenient labeling."
Politics does seem to have become more "either/or" in recent years.
3. "There is financial conservatism and social conservatism."
The GOP has become the party of both financially and socially conservative politics, but some redditors argued that financial and social conservatism don't always have to go together.
4. "We're both stereotyped."
Stereotypes never present a very accurate view of what people are actually like.
5. "Not every problem is solved by simply throwing more money at it."
A number of people argued that an aspect of their conservatism was fueled by a desire to see more efficient spending.
6. "Telling me that I'm a bigot."
Knee-jerk insults and name calling (whether you're a conservative or a liberal) aren't going to do a lot of convert people to your cause.