George Graham

Name Calling Doesn’t Help

 

I’m being called a “left-wing nut” and a “Communist” by readers who don’t agree with some of my blogs. But I am neither.

I wouldn’t want to live in a Communist country. I think Communism is inhumane and misguided. And I may be a “nut,” but my politics, while certainly progressive, are far from “left-wing.”

It’s sad that name calling is replacing debate in American politics. I don’t think it helps to dismiss everyone on the left as a “nut” or a “Communist.” And I don’t think it’s quite fair to describe conservative organizations as “hate groups” or “right-wing crazies.”

There’s a lot of hate on all sides, it seems. And “crazies” come in every political stripe.

But I agree wholeheartedly with the Nelson Mandela quote former president Barack Obama tweeted in response to the recent racial violence in Charlottesville:

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion … People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love… …For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.

We could start learning to love one another by being more civil. Instead of name calling,  we should listen to one another and agree or disagree in a polite and sober manner. We should also allow others to be right sometimes – or at least to have a right to their views.

I respect responsible conservatives even when I disagree with them. In my book, a true conservative valies tradition and is skeptical of change. And while that approach might not encourage progress, it certainly guards against recklessness.

There’s nothing wrong with the old adage, “Look before you leap.” I agree that we should think things through before we change existing practices and patterns. Throughout history, a lot of well intentioned changes have brought disastrous results.

But I believe we should always be open to the possibility of making the world a better place.  I believe we should be willing to try new ideas. Of course, we should think them through first. And if they don’t work as expected, we should make whatever adjustments are necessary.

That’s how I feel about Obamacare, for example.  Obviously, the Affordable Care Act has shortcomings.  But we shouldn’t just abandon it. We should try to fix what needs fixing. And we should ultimately be willing to try “Medicare for all” – possibly as a competing alternative to private health insurance.

I believe we should help one another, not claw and tear at others in the pursuit of mere money. I can assure you money won’t matter where we are all destined to go in the end.

I  feel – quite strongly – that people who say one race is superior to another are misinformed. Human beings are far more alike than they are different. Individuals of any ethnic origin, for example, are equally capable of greatness – and of great villainy.

I abhor violence by anyone, except in dire circumstances such as self defense.  And I think war is the dumbest way to settle our differences.

But that doesn’t mean we should meekly accept egregious skullduggery. If something is outrageous, we should be outraged. And we should say so. We should even be willing to march in the streets – as long as we do it peaceably.

President Obama’s tweet

About the author

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com