Some of my free time this week has been spent reading and listening to the news of the presidential candidates. Politics is such a touchy subject these days. As a nation, we are completely polarized. This is especially evident in my own family, where political discussion results in personal attacks from certain family members. Let's just say I'm not part of the majority in the discussions with them.
I have to wonder how we got to this place where people feel completely comfortable insulting family as well as total strangers because of their support of a candidate. The last election resulted in some women from the neighborhood, ringing our doorbell during dinner time and in front of our children telling us that we were "uneducated" and "didn't care about our children." All this because of a political support sign in our yard. We had other children in the neighborhood make insulting comments as they rode by our house on their bike, obviously repeating what they had heard at home. There is still a family grudge being carried out in the form of not speaking to us because we dared to disagree with one family member's view.
I'm not sure of the point of this blog, other than I am frustrated. I can't understand how it is impossible to discuss an issue or a candidate without delving into character attacks.
People joke about the ethics of lawyers, but there really is a code of ethic and it bars personally attacks on the opposition. I have heard some jurisdictions don't enforce it, but thankfully where we live it was enforced not only by the courts, but by the lawyers themselves. You could fight like hell over the facts and the law, but at the end of the day, the opposing lawyer was often a friend. You did your best for your client, but then it was over. Sometimes you won, sometimes you lost. And yeah, it irritated me to lose when I thought I should have won. But if the opposition played fairly, then I took my lumps and called it a day. As a new attorney, it takes a bit to figure this out, but eventually you realize you're going to work with the same lawyers over and over again, and being personally contentious does not help your client and your own state of mind.
Somehow I'd like to find a way to take this outside the courtroom. You don't have to agree with the opposition in the end, but treat people respectfully. Listening to a different approach allows you to consider other alternatives, as there is usually more than one way to accomplish a task. The true concern should be the lack of open, honest discussion. Without dialogue other than name calling, the polarization continue and issues such as war and the economy are left unresolved.