In the midst of the contentious presidential election in 2020, I heard conversations on both side of the aisle that claimed the righteousness of their choice for president. I heard justifications and defenses, but I never heard actual debate. Debate listens to the person and the responds to the person’s points with counterpoints without demeaning the person in the debate. Debate is a rhetorical foundation of a democracy, but we have forgotten how to actually debate.
Instead, we chose sides. We not only want our side to win, but also plan on how to get revenge on the other side when the tables are turned in the next election cycle.
I’m giving up the common enemy hustle.
I have voted for both parties and plan to continue to vote based on who I believe will serve the people of our democracy the best, regardless of party affiliations. I will continue to hold leaders on both side of the aisles to the expectations of using their power for good and will call for accountability when they have abused their power against others no matter what. I will continue to read and research to make these decisions.
The common enemy is a particularly attractive hustle because we are social beings. We long for community and connection. We want to be around people who are like us and we want affirmation that the way we see the world is accurate. While connection and community are vital to our well-being, community and connection that forms based on us vs. them thinking is counterproductive. It’s not true community or connection. It is posturing and positioning.
What if instead of gathering together to oppose each other, we gathered together to help others? What if we gathered not against a common enemy, but for the common good? What if we concentrated all that energy to feed the hungry, house the homeless, and care for the next generation?
What if instead of wanting to win all the time, we wanted to create a community and a society where all were welcomed?