I've been thinking about this a lot lately--the divisiveness and outright hostility that seems so pervasive in the current political dialogue. I'm growing increasingly worried about the two echo chambers of the left and right that seem to create this us vs. them environment where there seems to be no common ground, and where we routinely dismiss those who disagree with us in the most simplistic and dismissive terms--stupid, nut job, ignorant, fascist, etc. It seems to me that this is creating a national cultural environment where violence becomes an accepted viable means of forwarding a political viewpoint, because there appears to be no middle ground, no means or place where opposing viewpoints can be debated in a more rational, less histrionic way.
Now, I've also been attempting to confront my own left leaning biases, which, when whipped up by the current us vs. them frenzy on the blogosphere, and (more and more) the main stream media, lead me down the path of believing that there is more of this angry, violence-encouraging, rhetoric coming from the right than from the left. But living in New York City it can be hard to get the sense of what it's really like in the rest of the country. Which leads me to my proposed experiment...
Self professed liberals and conservatives would wear shirts like the ones pictured above, and then travel to areas that they consider unfriendly to them. Blue true believers traveling to traditionally red areas, and vice versa, red believers heading to blue states. They would keep online diaries of how they are received, the reactions they get, and the outcomes of any actual conversations they have with folks who are diametrically opposed to them.
My gut tells me that the things that connect us as Americans are actually stronger than the ideas that divide us, but there's no way to know until we stop shouting at each other from our walled gardens and actually talk it out.
What do you think?