Editorial: Summit County group’s effort to ‘Depolarize Now!’ is a worthy cause
Our country has seldom been so polarized.
A quick glance at the news on any given day — or through the feed of your social media platform of choice — makes that apparent. We’ve become so divided, in fact, that many of us no longer see people whose politics are different from our own as compatriots. Rather, we view them through the lens of our disagreements.
After all, how can someone who supports policies — or politicians — we vehemently dislike share our same American values? Or so the thinking seems to go.
In Summit County, though, a new effort is pushing back against that notion.
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church is organizing a group, dubbed Depolarize Now!, whose mission is to help people who disagree engage in civil discourse and learn from other perspectives. Imagine such a concept. Talking to each other instead of arguing past one another.
Summit County, while home to a diverse range of political views, has not been a flashpoint of the kind of vitriol seen elsewhere in the country. Still, we’re not insulated from it. Depolarize Now!, which plans to include an equal number of people on the left and the right, is a worthy effort and will hopefully draw plenty of support from residents.
If we are to repair the division that currently plagues our country, it will be through regular folks looking beyond their differences to reach a common understanding.
The majority of Americans deserve the respect of being heard. Most of us, no matter where we fall on the political spectrum, simply want to carve out a good life. We seek the dignity of working for wages that allow us to provide for our families and the comfort of knowing they’re safe. We hope for a country where the American Dream is attainable.
We disagree profoundly about what such a nation looks like and how to get there. Those disagreements are complicated and they should not be trivialized. The future of America, as it always has been, will be shaped by which side wins them.
What must change, though, is our inability to recognize the humanity in the people waging the argument on the other side. They are Americans, flawed but doing the best they can. Just like us.
Until we regain sight of the common bonds inherent in that fact, the tense political climate will continue, and we will be destined to remain divided.
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church is scheduled to hold an organizing meeting for Depolarize Now! on Wednesday, Aug. 29, at 6:30 p.m. More information is available at http://www.stlukesparkcity.org.