This blog makes no secret that my politics are very conservative. However, it bothers me that there is so much partisanship today, not so much in party affiliation as in the right/left dichotomy itself. People on either side in our country are deeply steeped in heaping invective on the other side, treating them like monolithic stereotypes and indulging in harsh personal judgments against them. I admit, I do some of this too, though I’ve tried to be better.
Last month I read The Federalist Papers, and while it definitely did strengthen my conviction of conservative principles, one passage stood out as a warning against this cultural civil war between halves of the spectrum.
In Federalist #50, James Madison refers to a contentious political gathering to examine government workings that had occurred a few years before. In his analysis of it and its lessons for the new Constitution, he notes that “When men exercise their reason cooly and freely, on a variety of distinct questions, they invariably fall into different opinions, on some of them.”
Perhaps the political spectrum on the 1780’s wasn’t quite as wide or diverse as ours is now, but it’s always worth reminding ourselves that those who disagree with our positions aren’t trying to subvert democracy, destroy America, establish a dictatorship, or any other such thing. We’re all trying to do the best we can to help America, in the best ways we know how. Our ideas may conflict, but we don’t have to.