It’s time to chill.
I drove past the Trump rally in Oak Harbor yesterday about 1:30 p.m., right after I had watched Trump supporters in D.C. invade and desecrate Congress.
I was so angry I wanted to flip all of them off as I drove past, but I was afraid they would attack my car, so I simply gave a thumbs down.
Provoking a fight and inciting hatred would have been a lousy choice.
My attitude towards the Oak Harbor protesters is that they drank deeply from the Trump Kool-Aid for years, and they would rather believe whatever Trump says, than think for themselves.
I used to believe that if young children were taught critical reasoning skills, we could improve American society.
This approach might help, but it would likely take a long time. I used to believe that civil discussions from opposing points of view could result in progress.
I used to believe that respect for other points of view was essential if we wanted positive changes. These beliefs have now become wishful thinking.
I still affirm that protest, expressing your opinions, and taking a position is an American right, privilege, and a core American value.
I still hold that all Americans have the right to believe and follow whatever religious or spiritual path makes sense to them, as long as the Golden Rule is part of their belief system.
I still believe that strong forms of democracy are bulwarks against absolute power held by a tyrant or dictator.
But we need to examine closely our definition for politics.
One definition I like is: Politics is the peaceable resolution of conflict among legitimate competing interests (Mark Shields).
He also said that the two hallmarks of American politics are optimism and pragmatism. How many of us are feeling optimistic about the future?
I encourage everyone in Island County to not take the hate bait, to not accept what a leader says until you have checked it out for yourself, but instead, find a way forward that involves listening with an open mind and putting yourself in the other person’s shoes.
Yesterday we all witnessed what blind group allegiance produces.