Can common ground be found between Republicans and Libertarians? One would think NO based on the recent posts and comments I have been reading. This puzzles me considering we hold common beliefs on a wide spectrum of issues. Some comments made by members of my former party are cringeworthy. Similarly are some responses from my new party members. Both are passionate in promoting their respective viewpoints. However, both are lacking in one component crucial to productive discourse…. Civility.
Name calling and attacks put others on the defensive. They respond in kind, and things quickly escalate to nothing but double downing and one upping. I urge others to read… re-read… and then read again posts/comments with which u disagree. I bet in most cases, you will find something in that post or comment you might actually agree with. Affirmation on one aspect of the post leads to a civil discussion which won't put the other person on the defensive. This will allow them to be more receptive to your counterpoints. This will allow an ever broadening exchange of ideas.
Remember, you don't have to change their mind right then…. but you may give them pause to reflect on your points and shift their opinion of a certain view. Who knows… you may find even more common ground to build on. You may not. In these cases, the most productive path would be to simply state you must respectfully agree to disagree and excuse yourself from the conversation. If you just keep in mind every person is an individual with the absolute right to state their viewpoint, you may find it easier to discern what basis on which they have formed their opinion.
Of course, the above advice is not addressing the “shock jocks” of chat groups. The outrageous and combative members, who consistently show they irrational or just itching for a verbal fight, should be shunned. Our natural response would be an awesome eye roll meme, a barrage of name calling or a laundry list of why their post or comment is absolutely inappropriate. I simply suggest no response. These trolls have a whole conversation already mapped out in their head. They are looking for the response they have incited and will drag you down to their level, leaving you feeling dirty and stupid for engaging in the first place. If these trolls are consistently met with silence every time… they will simply move on to another chat group they can bait and goad onto their desired response. This will leave the other members free to continue their productive discussions.
We must stick to issues we find most relevant to promoting liberty in Oklahoma. Theological or hypothetical discussions are engaging and stimulating. However, they can also become very divisive. I don't believe Republicans are religious zealots wanting to force their religion on others. Likewise, I don't believe Libertarians are godless heathens wanting to take other’s religion away. I do believe we can all find common ground in our mutual understanding that government should not discriminate based on an individual’s religion, and government should not suppress or promote one religion over another. I also believe we can have frank discussions on the merits of different cultures without assuming someone is a racist. Culture and race are not synonymous. One cannot choose one's race or genetics. One can prefer to live in a different culture, and this is evident in migration and immigration.
We are facing many crises which directly affect our freedoms and lifestyles today… here… now. Coming together to address and implement policy to ensure and expand our liberty is of the utmost importance. Republicans and Libertarians hold many of the same views on issues that directly threaten our financial and personal freedom. I believe we can be the most powerful and formidable voice this state has ever seen. We can form a strong coalition firmly based on common interests and beliefs. We can unite and facilitate liberty for the average Oklahoman, who is struggling under burdensome taxes and arbitrary laws.
In closing, I will reiterate, Civility is the key to Freedom in Oklahoma. Mutual respect for others and their differing viewpoints can lead us all to common ground on which we can unite and be an effective voice for change. I urge others to strive for patience and open mindedness. I urge all to stop conflating religion with politics… to stop confusing race with culture. Until we all do this, productive discourse leading to action will be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.