The primary election season is upon us and one request I have is that candidates and voters love first and respect each other.
In America — northeast Indiana included — too often screaming matches replace debates, protests replace friendly discourse and social media rants replace informed letters to the editor.
It’s frustrating to witness. When did we get away from listening and trying to understand another point of view? It doesn’t mean you have to agree.
Attempting to push an agenda down someone’s throat never works.
A great example of this took place last year at the University of California, Berkeley when a young conservative group attempted to host a controversial speaker. Those who didn’t like the speaker protested and supporters of the speaker’s right to speak protested against those protesters.
A British comedian who documented the event on his show “Hate Thy Neighbor” said it was the dumbest thing he ever saw. No one made a point. The event became more about who could yell the loudest or spout a glib remark. No civil discourse took place. Everyone left angry and mad — if not detained.
Last week, celebrated author and foundation CEO Wes Moore spoke at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne about the need to turn down the temperature in this country so that people can have informed, factual conversations about issues. He also stressed the need to always understand the other side or “the others.”
Moore’s best-selling book “The Other Wes Moore” compares his life — wayward inner city youth turned decorated veteran and Rhodes Scholar — to another Wes Moore’s life – a young man who took part in a jewelry store robbery that landed him in prison for life.
“Our worst decisions don’t separate us from the circle of humanity,” Moore said during the Omnibus lecture.
He emphasized the need to truly take time to understand where someone is coming from with an opinion. He used the recent protest scene in the NFL, where some football players kneeled during the national anthem to call attention to racial inequality. Despite Moore understanding the history and reason for the kneeling, he chooses to stand during the national anthem because, as a veteran, he has a special relationship with the flag. But, he explained, he respects the right of others to choose not to and he acknowledges the larger meaning at play.
Moore noted that he is a Christian, and his faith teaches him to love everyone. This is what he says gives him the patience to try and understand others.
Christian or not, loving each other as human beings shouldn’t be that hard.
Every day, I remind my daughter that she needs to love everyone. Mind you, she doesn’t have to like them or agree with them. But she must learn to love each person and respect that person for who they are.
So, on this Valentine’s Day, I ask all of you to love first.
Lucretia Cardenas is the editorial director for KPC Media Group.