Opposing sides of politics can find middle ground: just listen

It amazes me how grown people of the far left and far right of the political spectrum still argue non stop. Watching an interview on one of the many news talk shows is like watching a bunch of 5-year-old children argue over the shovel in the sand box. I think that people need to stop being so set in their ways and start looking at the middle ground and what we can all agree on. I feel that maybe this is starting to happen.

Not on a national level, but on a local level.

For the first time in the three and a half years that I have been at Castleton, I have seen students listening to each other. I have sat in so many of my classes and watched as we all listen to other and what we each have to say. We talk about the war, poverty, welfare, and health care. Not only has it made sense, but people who have disagreed with me and my opinions have taken the time to listen, and we have found after a brief (and when I say brief I am literally talking 10 minutes tops) discussion that we can find a middle ground that would suit both their wants and mine.

Now, my question is this: If this is beginning to happen on a small scale, is it possible that we can see it happen in Washington? Or are the older generations of highly educated people that we elected to run our country going to shut out our opinions and vote party lines?

I have said it once and I will say it again, they aren’t there to vote for the party they are there to vote for the people they represent — US! It has to stop! People have to start opening their ears and mind to others thoughts and opinions. That does not in any way mean you have to agree with them.

Something we all learned as very small school children was to listen and to share. That means sharing talking time, that means listening to ideas, and it means sometimes to try something new.

As my father always says, “how do you know you don’t like it, if you haven’t tried it?”

So here is my proposal to every teacher and student: Find someone who shares a different opinion than you on one topic, such as the war or healthcare. For five measly little minutes, listen to what they have to say. Don’t think rudely or think of what you are going to rebut, but honestly listen.

When they are done, take five minutes to sit there or take a walk and honestly think about it. Don’t think about what you hate about it, just think about their ideas and opinions. Then come back and have them do the same with you and your opinions and ideas.

After they take five minutes, talk about it and see if you can at least agree with one thing they said or find a way that something they want to see happen could happen.

You would be amazed at how much you can agree on!

Obviously we’re not going to all become best friends and agree on everything and suddenly have the world be perfect. But if we start small, if we start changing our generation to be able to communicate better, then it will make for a better situations when our generation is the group of highly-educated elected officials who are making laws for this country.

We have to start with us and letting one another’s voices be heard, and letting our own be heard. So listen: First make sure to vote. And take those five minutes with someone and let’s see what we can accomplish.

Christina M. LaBarge

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