SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Conversations connect us. But, they’re also a sure path to political conflict.
The good news is that the holidays are a chance to reflect on the balance between finding goodwill, common ground and standing your ground when political views are worth fighting for. The KOLR10 common ground focus group provides examples of each.
“We’ve got to be willing to compromise in this world to make it better,” Lanae Gillespie, Democrat focus group member, said. “And I don’t see either side really working toward that at this point.”
Compromise is key, as is seeing things from a broader view. Our KOLR10 common ground focus group has some ideas.
“I think part of the problem as a society though, is that people are tending to look at all issues in terms of how it affects me, instead of how does this affect the population in the country as a whole?” Wes Zongker, Democrat focus group member, said.
But helping society also means respecting those who produce.
“Somebody has to work, somebody has to pay taxes,” Scott Estes, Republican focus group member, said. “If it’s only one person paying taxes and everyone else says give it to me, let’s make society better, you’ve got to have a bunch of people paying.”
But be careful, perception may be reality, but that doesn’t make it true, especially when political stereotypes are involved.
“The perception is that people are lazy, they’re not out there working,” Zongker said.
I worked with a lot of families, a lot of families, they were working two jobs. They were doing their very best. They were in poverty; they couldn’t get out of it. They’re not lazy.”
Yet to some extent, we might just have to live with disagreement.
“You know, I can’t even find employees,” Estes said. “I can’t find anyone who wants a job. And believe me, I try. And what are we doing wrong? Giving them too much stuff to where they don’t have to work. Not all of it. I can’t agree with that. I know it is.”
To be sure, common ground doesn’t always mean agreement, but it does mean respecting people, their views, and the reality that we all have differences and similarities that, ironically, are our common connections.