UNITED STATES—I keep hearing this all over the countless news outlets: we are a country divided. We are a country divided because half of the country voted for the current President Donald J. Trump, while the other half voted for Joe Biden. In all truth, the country is politically divided it appears: those who are Democrat, those who are Republican and everyone else who fall in between. However, there is a problem with that classification: there are Independents and those who DO NOT identify with a political affiliation.

We live in a country where you need to pick a side, you don’t get to have a choice, even if you’re an Independent, you either voted for Trump or Biden and based on WHO you voted for, that is the party you are affiliated with. I don’t get it, I don’t understand it, and it is quite alarming to say the least America. We just live in this bubble where, if someone disagrees with you or don’t share the same views, opinions or thoughts as you, they are the bad guy. Why is that? Is that a question you’ve ever asked yourself? I know I have because I want to understand things on a political front.

So I had a conversation with someone this weekend that has a different political opinion than me. It was a really decent eye opening conversation, where issues pertaining to the economy, policy, social climate, taxes and a ton more was discussed. It was a satisfying conversation because while we disagreed on a lot of issues, both viewpoints were heard and we attempted to reach some common ground on issues. There was no yelling, no screaming or a situation where people were about to come to blows, that did not happen here at all America.

You can have a civil conversation with someone who disagrees with your viewpoint on certain issues and still remain friends. I find it appalling to hear people say they cut someone off or refused to talk to them any longer because they voted for this person or was an advocate for something you disagreed with. That is the thing that makes America a great place; we can have opposing viewpoints, and having those viewpoints allow for a healthy dialogue. Just imagine if everyone agreed, thought and behaved alike? That would NOT be a good thing and it would be a step in the direction of communism, quite scary to say the least.

As a country, we need to be open to having difficult conversations and hear opposing sides. I know politics is one thing that everyone frowns upon discussing, but the same can be said about religion and race. I honestly think race is a conversation that makes people more uncomfortable than politics to be honest. It’s like tap dancing around an issue, so much to the point that by the time we talk about the issue, the tension is beyond being thicker than a knife; if you breathe things could explode.

So with that said it’s TIME to start having those tough conversations and actually listening to others, rather they agree with you or disagree with how you feel or think. Watch CNN, watch Fox News, listen to someone who is against abortion or for abortion, etc. Am I going to have a conversation with a racist? Of course not, there are limitations, when actual hate becomes intertwined into an issue that is another issue people.

What I’m saying with this entire column is just because we might be ‘divided’ does not mean we cannot heal or come together to be better people. Let’s be role models for our children and those who have come before and will come after us. We can teach one another to be better than what we already are America. We can do so much more to be better. Life is too short to live with hate, let’s find a way to be better human beings.

Written By Jason Jones