I don’t know how many times I will write about this topic in this column. Not a lot has changed since Trump became president, though the division between U.S. citizens has been there previous to him. How long have we had this division? I’m not the right person to ask, but I can tell you as a writer, reporter, and citizen, I am pretty fed up with it.

I’ve been called countless names and have been criticized over some ridiculous things. I’m not hurt by it (I’ve been praised at least as many times, at minimum), because it’s all over really petty things. With bigger issues at hand, I could care less what you think of me being a democrat or having colored hair. I’ve been made fun of by “right-wingers” before I was in the public eye, so I’ve gotten used to it more each day.

That’s really terrible to say, though; that I’ve gotten used to it. I know I’m not the only one who has “gotten used to it”. Don’t worry, I’m not about to stand on my soap box and cry like the liberal snowflake I am. There is a pretty big issue facing us, however, and I think it is important that we talk about it.

I’ve had more than my fair share of trials and tribulations, small and big. Here’s a small example: I live in an apartment complex with a community washer/dryer (laundry room) in the basement. I run my clothes with cold water to conserve energy (because electricity can get to be pretty pricey) and to save money for everyone in the building. I’m going out of my way a little for that, but it serves me as well. I also skimp on my laundry soap and dryer sheets, using the least amount of it that I possibly can so that I’m not spending money on those things. I’ve used the same detergent for my laundry since I moved in to that apartment in August.

I do the same with toilet paper, toothpaste and brushes, hair products (shampoo, conditioner, any gels); that’s right, I pinch all of the pennies. I even have a coin jar that I save up to use on bills. We’re not here to talk about how my lifestyle, but I am only using it as example. Would you have known that about me if I didn’t tell you? You wouldn’t, there just isn’t any way for you to know unless you were a roommate.

Yet, we’re so quick to judge someone else as if our life is in competition with theirs. For some reason, it is so much easier to demonize others. I’m not talking to just the “conservatives” out there, either. There’s extremism on both sides.

I’m tired of hearing everybody calling each other ridiculous names – name-calling should have stopped in elementary school. It’s like we’ve forgotten what we learned in kindergarten. Mind you, I skipped kindergarten and still managed to hold on to my kind heart (I learned to share and to be kind from being a twin, having siblings). So how has the public collectively forgotten those values?

Is it really so hard to do unto others as you would have done unto you? Is it really so hard to share and to be considerate? Is it really so hard to see your own actions for what they are? Is it really so hard to consider someone else’s feelings?

That’s not to say I have high ground over anyone. I’m human. I admit that I’ve gotten wrapped up in that same game before. I’ve been just as wrong as any of you. That doesn’t mean that we have the same values, however, it just means that I’m human. Life makes it easy for us to lose our way, and maybe that is the problem. We’ve all just lost our way.

So how do we change this negative culture of demonizing and name-calling? We practice being good people. How do you be a good person? There’s not a definitive book on it, but it’s not like there aren’t any answers either. My argument is to challenge yourselves (because I don’t say it enough in these columns.)

You don’t need to go overboard with it. It’ll be like a New Year’s Resolution, except the goal won’t be to go the gym to lose weight or to stop eating Cheetohs. Most of our goals are more self-serving than not with those, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Reflect on the end of your busy week and answer whether or not you’ve done 3 good deeds for the week, which gives you the challenge of committing to 3 good deeds.

I don’t know how else to say it or what else to really do to get us to stop bickering over stupid, petty things otherwise. I have a platform with this column. I have a platform on Facebook. Regardless, I’ve accepted that I’m the only person I can change. My only hope is that you read this and find it within your own heart to WANT to spread love to others rather than hate.

I’m going to keep marching forward, even if it is against a wave of hate. I know, I’m a hippie and a liberal and a nerd and so many other labels you would be so quick to apply to me. I really could care less. In the grand scheme of it all, you’re contributing to the mess that is our country.

We have real problems to solve. Property taxes and school funding in western Nebraska has been on-going for at least the past 20 years from what I’ve gathered due to the different meetings and events I’ve covered. Our state budget has a pretty decent deficit to make up, meaning someone messed up somewhere along the lines. There are plenty of issues for us in Nebraska that I would love to mention if I had the space.

Even if we didn’t have any of these problems to solve, wouldn’t life be so much easier if we didn’t have people so focused on labels and stereotypes, if we spoke to each other with respect regardless of our dislike? One guy is a conservative, so he must be racist, while another guy is a liberal, so he must be a socialist. Neither of these are true. I’ve reached across that stupid political aisle multiple times. I have people that I love who are republican and democrat. So do you.

Ideally, I’d love to stop seeing the right to stop throwing a fit over bathrooms and I would love for the left to stop assuming that every republican is out to get them. The thing is… the amount of people who do this are in the minority. I would bet that the majority of you agree with me in that we’re tired of the constant disrespect.

Allow me to make the first step. I’m sorry for any wrong I may have done. I am sorry for any name-calling or demonizing. I am sorry for any lapse of judgement on my part. I will not apologize for what I believe in, but I make it a point to respect everybody, even those I disagree with. Remember that it is okay to agree to disagree. Remember that it is possible to get along even if you don’t always see eye to eye. Remember that at the end of the day, I’ll be happy to have a beer with you the same as anyone else… Now it’s your turn.

Recommended for you