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Divisive political climate needs to be dialed down

I’m a conservative person but have always voted for the person who I think has the best interests of the American people in mind, regardless of party. As such, I went to both of the political booths at the Dickinson County Fair in Norway this year to see what their future plans are for our country.

The Republican booth was selling political merchandise, handing out fliers to join the local Republican Committee, and holding a mock “voting booth” to raise money. From the Democratic booth I received a one-page handout, filled on both sides with “us” vs. “them” rhetoric. Democrats, of course, were listed as the “good guys” and Republicans as the “bad guys,” and depicted as monsters who want only to destroy the American people and our country. They want to restrict health care for all, promote profits and greed over people, don’t care about our planet, and even want to force people to worship only “their” religion (whatever that means). Whew, that’s some bad stuff, and I’ve only mentioned four of the 16 items listed!

I’ve thought and prayed about this a lot, and want to ask some questions. No matter which side of the fence you’re on, do you truly think “all” of the people in the opposite party are bad? Do you honestly believe that one side is “for” the people and the other is “against” them and want to hurt them? Is one party totally honest, while the other is comprised of liars and thieves? And, if so, why hasn’t the country imploded when the “bad guys” have been in office?

I personally believe that there are good and bad people in BOTH parties. It’s always been that way. I also believe it’s healthy to have differing viewpoints — no one side is always right, and it keeps our country and government balanced. That’s why it was designed with two main parties.

So I want to ask a question … what’s happened to us? Why is someone “evil” if their opinion differs from ours? Politics are now an all-out slugfest — when punched, punch back! Name-calling occurs every day and lying is accepted, even supported. If caught, don’t admit it — just go on the defensive: fabricate stories, make innuendos, smear people and even break up families, all in the name of the almighty Party.

Worst of all is the anger and violence. Many things happening are just plain wrong and go against our rights as Americans. It’s not okay to forcibly evict people from restaurants because you don’t like their beliefs. It’s not okay to beat up reporters (or anyone) because they’re wearing political clothing you don’t like. It’s not okay to mob attendees after political rallies, burn their clothing and terrorize them until police have to be called for protection. It’s not okay to harass elderly people and call them Nazis and white supremacists because you don’t like their political beliefs, and it’s not okay to use false photos to fabricate stories that foster support for your side and defame the other.

The events I’ve listed have actually happened. There may be others occurring from both sides that we don’t know about, so I speak to both parties: God tells us to treat others as we wish to be treated. Look into your hearts and end this divisiveness. We have far more in common than differences, and God loves all of us equally. As such, we need to love each other as He loves us. God bless.

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