I recently received an email from the Nebraska Freedom Coalition which includes the following statement: “Make no mistake, this is a war for the state party’s very survival. Those who seek to appease the enemy and the enemies from within, to lay down and surrender, are no better than the enemy themselves. They are a cancer that threatens to weaken and destroy us from within. For NFC, if you aren’t with us, you’re against us.”
Whoever wrote this email, and if that group supports that message, needs to do some serious introspection. Everyone needs to stop throwing around language about “enemies” and that this is a “war”. We’re talking about fellow Nebraskans, humans, and in this case, they’re referring to other Republicans. We need to stop spreading hate. Have we gotten to the point in our society where we can’t have different opinions on things? Why are other people evil, or an enemy, just because you disagree with them? Just because a Democrat has a different belief on taxes than a Republican, doesn’t make them evil. Just because another Republican wants to actually help people, shouldn’t make them your enemy.
I get, as people, we tend to form into tribes with other people we have things in common with and we want to find ways to differentiate ourselves from other tribes. It’s part of why sports are so popular. But once we start to see those different tribes as enemies and turn our actions/words into hate towards members of that other tribe, we’ve lost sight of the humanity of each other. This kind of language doesn’t do anyone any good. In fact, this type of mindset is what has led our nation down a dark path. We need to stop looking at each other with hate and animosity, instead look at them as people, as Nebraskans, as your neighbors. Take someone out to coffee that has a completely different view point than you, and get to know them. Find out why they believe what they believe. Everybody has different life experiences, and different events that have led them to who they are. Whether it’s their faith, family, race, socioeconomic status, education, geographic location, etc. we all come to the table with a different make up for what makes us who we are and why we believe what we believe.
Where politics are concerned, I’m willing to bet near 100% of all elective officials start out with the desire to help their community. We may disagree on what it looks like to help, but everyone generally has good intentions to begin with. Can we start with that mindset, and focus on debating and talking about the differences in solutions, to move forward? The moment we begin to use hate language, like this group, we take the humanity out of our interactions. If you hear your friends/family use this type of divisive language, I would encourage you to call them out. It will take members of their own tribe, reminding them that there are other people on the receiving end of their hate, to begin affecting change, to move our nation forward again, and start to bring people back together.