There Isn’t Always Common Ground – I Know That

Gotta say I’m enjoying the dialog sparked by my writing about how we can somehow build up community between the divided country we live in (and that UK citizens and Germans do, too). I’ve enjoyed the input from a variety of people, and especially encourage those of you who think the left versus right problem is confined only to the US to read the comments on my last two posts:

Controversial Unity Crap Again

Fascinating Feedback (and Lack Thereof)

I appreciate that many readers in my extended community think I’m on the right track about being willing to listen to others, look at the big picture, and see how we got where we are. But, I also appreciate those of you who say you just can’t try for a middle ground with people who believe x, y, and z. I probably touched on that issue a little bit, but not enough, so let me clarify a bit.

Diversity! Unity! Idealism! Image by @yummypixels via Twenty20

There’s no denying that there are radical fringe group members who are neither interested in compromising nor holding onto beliefs most people would want to compromise about. People in the middle might find the extremists on one side of the other more palatable, but there are some philosophies where the majority of people feel like we have to draw the line, as Aurora (not her real name) said on Facebook.

Nope, I’m not going to waste my time working for common ground with actual neo-Nazis, nor with radicalized Communists who want to completely dismantle our society. I may hold slightly more sympathy to the left-leaning extremists, but I know better than to argue with one (having given birth to one). I’m going to let them go do their things and concentrate on things I CAN do something about. There always have been and always will be extremes. You can’t have a continuum without ends, though sometimes it seems like the very opposite ends are sort of close to each other!

When I talk about finding common ground and working toward common goals from different perspectives, I’m talking about the vast majority of people, even those very firm in their beliefs about political and sociological issues, but who recognize the common humanity with their fellow citizens.

I hope that clears things up a bit. Sorry I don’t have as much time as usual to make my points!

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

4 thoughts on “There Isn’t Always Common Ground – I Know That”

  1. Being one of the conservative friends, I’m glad you continue to have me as a friend. Reading your commentary allows me to see the liberal side without feeling attacked for having a different point of view. I know that even among those who espouse conservative opinions there is a great divide. I fear what is coming with current leadership but couldn’t support the option given by the past either. I found myself voting for a candidate I knew couldn’t win because either of the mainstream choices were in anyway acceptable. I guess a fiscally conservative libertarian would be what I truly am. I find myself feeling alienated and unable to find representation.

    Thank you for being a point of reference I don’t feel the need to avoid. The news outlets are polarized and no longer seem to present both sides of any subject. My conservative friends rant about conspiracy and many of my liberal friends are vicious in their attacks about anyone who doesn’t see things their way. I have always tried to find facts and form my own opinions rather than toe someone’s party line. But now I find myself avoiding news and depressed about how unkind everyone is.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “You can’t have a continuum without ends, though sometimes it seems like the very opposite ends are sort of close to each other!” As a history student, many decades ago, I developed my own “circular view” of politics, that if you move far enough to the right you’ll bump into, and be virtually indistinguishable from, those on the extreme left. Don’t know if that theory entirely holds water, but half a century of watching politics convinces me that the left v. right political narrative that we’re so familiar with is a false construct. Reducing politics into a simple battle between left and right (or angels and demons) misses the point that life’s a lot more complicated than that. On the one hand we are all – as human beings – flawed, and yet there’s good in nearly everyone, if we can only be bothered to look. Neither politics (nor life itself) will ever be simple, regardless of how much we wish this were not the case.

    Liked by 1 person

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