Opinion

8 ways to find common ground

Gridlock plagues Washington. Polarizing soundbytes get constant play in the 24/7 news cycle. The culture wars rage on. But these Monitor op-ed writers suggest there’s more common ground than meets the eye. Here are eight powerful perspectives on the possibilities for meeting in the middle.

3. Class warfare. War on teachers. War on business. War in America?

Psychologist Jeremy Shapiro writes: “Fierce partisans on both the left and right, not content to simply point out errors in each others’ reasoning, frequently accuse each other of outright malevolence.”.

Shapiro continues: 

While the “war” metaphor may win media coverage and rile voters, it prevents Americans from having the type of debate that could lead to more effective responses to our society’s problems.

The problem, Shapiro explains, is that “The war metaphor means something different; it says opponents are not well intentioned but are engaged in a purposeful attempt to harm.”

He offers a list compiled from mainstream politicians and commentators:

The left accuses the right of waging: The right accuses the left of waging
War on the poor Class warfare
War on working people War on business
War on the middle class War on the middle class (yes, both)
War on immigrants War on savers
War on the family War on the family (again, both)
War on children War on marriage
War on the elderly War on the American way of life
War on public employees War on religion
War on teachers War on Christmas

Shapiro finishes:

Our politicians and pundits should give up this manipulative form of rhetoric. And citizens should support leaders who exchange this cheap emotional ploy for the hard work of evidence-based reasoning and persuasion.

Jeremy Shapiro is a psychologist and director of YouCutTheBudget.com.

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