Unfortunately the politics of the world is becoming similar in many diverse places...such as Fort Collins, Colorado; Baghdad, Iraq; and Jerusalem, Israel. This worldwide problem is the inability to compromise to solve current issues. In Iraq and Israel people are killing each other. Fortunately in Fort Collins, Colorado and the rest of the United States of America we are not using tanks and missiles to kill each other, but we are suffering from the same root problem of being unable to compromise.
As I hear my friends and neighbors and associates discuss issues such as same sex marriage, gun control, health care, the environment (oil fracking, global warming, etc.), most of the discussions are not on common sense plans for resolution that both sides might agree to, but the discussions are about how stupid and evil the people are on the other side of the debate. Since many of these discussions involve our political leaders, all the personal animosity also disrespects the offices that these people hold, such as the President of the United States of America.
Though we are not yet killing each other in Fort Collins, Colorado as part of our disagreement over political and social issues, we, like the people of Baghdad and Jerusalem are not making progress in working out these differences. Without resolution, the problems only get worse and the behavior of the people involved will likely get worse as the animosity and frustration increases over time as we struggle to progress in a society that has lost social progress' most useful tool....the art of compromise.
To turn things around, each of us can do the following:
1. Individually we can refuse to engage in any conversation where the focus is on the persons on the other side. Instead we can propose practical solutions to the problem that all might be able to accept.
2. We can encourage those we speak with to do likewise...a. not vilify the opposition; and b. propose common sense solutions that all might accept.
3. We can break the current trend of supporting the candidates and other leaders with the most extreme views, but support candidates and leaders that focus on compromise and building consensus, even if those candidates and leaders may not be the most popular or affiliated with the major political parties. Unfortunately, in Baghdad, Jerusalem and the USA, the most popular candidates are often those who take the most extreme views and look at compromise as a sign of weakness. As long as that trend persists, the world will continue to decline as an enjoyable place to live.
I believe that we should not compromise the principles that guide our lives. On the other hand, living with others must be based on compromise. Lets look at an example to see how this might work. If person A believed that sexual relations between people of the same gender was wrong, how could that person follow his/her belief, yet compromise in living with others. The answer could be:
a. Person A could refrain from any negative comments about persons who may not agree with his/her belief.
b. Person A could share his/her thoughts with other sabout the benefits of heterosexual marriage. Here is where the fun begins...because those who disagree will interpret Person A's positive comments about heterosexual marriage as an attack against them. The challenge is not to let the conversation turn negative with personal attacks going both ways. Maybe the best strategy is for Person A to realize the volatile nature of expressing his/her views and save them for family and friends, or one on one conversations, where the possibility of a negative outcome are less.
c. Person A when confronted with comments by those who disagree with his belief can remain silent and only discuss those beliefs one on one with persons that may be edified by the discussion.
d. The focus of Person A's discussions in the public square should be to present ideas how medical benefits, inheritance rights, etc. can be implemented to help people that may in a same sex relationship. Those in the community who disagree with Person A's moral belief, may support some of his/her ideas to help people in same sex relationships and may not consider him/her an evil enemy if he/she does not try to convert them to his moral beliefs and if he shows good will towards those who do not share his views.
The bottom line is that people do not need to abandon their guiding principles as they work to make life better for their neighbors that may not share those guiding principles. That is what the people in Fort Collins, Baghdad and Jerusalem need to learn and practice.