Not Everyone Who Disagrees With Your Political Views Is an Idiot

"Everybody who disagrees with my political views is an idiot" is not conducive to a productive society. Reject tribalism.

It is not that any of us are blameless here. We've all made this mistake. We've all labeled someone as an idiot, a moron, or worse, because they expressed views that differed from our own. Instead of allowing them the space to be wrong, we condemned them. This is a mistake those of us aspiring to be more rational try to avoid. But why?

We recognize that condemning entire groups of people provides an incomplete picture of reality, one that absolves us of any need to listen to them. We know how this can prevent us from examining our own beliefs. This has the potential to limit our progress. After all, we are far from perfect. We are sometimes wrong and often in need of continued development.

Interacting with persons who have different perspectives is an opportunity for us to grow. As freethinkers, we accept the value of exposing ourselves to diverse views, leaving our echo chambers behind, and promoting civil discourse. We see the dangers associated with inhibiting the expression of perspectives we may find upsetting. We choose more speech rather than less.

As members of a diverse society, it is vital that we maintain the lines of communication. We must be able and willing to cooperate with others. And yes, this includes others who have political views that differ from our own. Extreme polarization and tribalism limit our ability to solve the problems facing us. Like it or not, we are in this together. We cannot afford to write off half the population for the "sin" of supporting a political party we do not like.

Even if we prevail and our preferred candidate wins the next election, our neighbors are still here. Half of them voted for the other candidate. So what now? Do we gloat and rub it in their faces because we think that's what they'd have done? Do we try to build bridges instead?

Rejecting tribalism is not easy. It is especially difficult when we face disagreements around some of the values we hold most dear. It requires sustained effort, but we can do it. Whether we want to do it, is another matter.